California nurse suffers crushing injuries in MRI accident

California nurse suffers crushing injuries in MRI accident

By Hunter Boyce
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – Last February, the enormous magnetic pull of an MRI machine — one of the strongest magnets on Earth — at Kaiser Permanente’s Redwood City Medical Center in California pulled a medical bed into its gravitational field, pinning Bay-area nurse against the machine. The nurse, Aina Cervantes, suffered crushing injuries as a result of being pinned between an MRI and a hospital bed — including a severe laceration that required surgery, OSHA reported.

It all started when an MRI technologist heard screaming, local news outlet KTVU reported. Regulators said systemic problems began when Cervantes and his patient care tech were left unsupervised, as MRI staff were not in the room. The door to the magnetic room was open, the safety alarm was never triggered and no one was properly screened to be in the room.

“I was pushed out of bed,” Cervantes told investigators, KTVU reported. “Basically, I was running backwards, and if I didn’t run, the bed would crush me underneath me.”

It’s not an entirely uncommon occurrence at medical centers that use MRIs, according to MRI expert Tobias Gilke.

“I personally find it very frustrating,” Gilk told KTVU. “We know that MRI accidents can occur when best practices are not followed.”

Dr. Emanuel Canal, a radiologist at the University of Pittsburgh, has studied hundreds of similar incidents and stressed that MRI safety training is crucial.

“From an aviation safety standpoint — standardization, certification, recertification, making sure you’re on top of the game — to me, these are important aspects of what we need at MRI to make sure we reduce these incidents as much as possible,” Canal told KTVU.

Kaiser Permanente has since issued a statement regarding the incident.

“Our teams responded quickly and participants immediately received the care and support they needed,” said Sheila Gilson, senior vice president of Kaiser Permanente San Mateo Region. “This was a rare event, but we are not satisfied until we understand why the incident occurred and implement changes to prevent it from happening again.”

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