MRI safety crucial for first responders
by Paisley Boston
Aug 15, 2013 | 1831 views | 0 0 comments | 39 39 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Kindy Lofton (far right) describes the power of the magnet in the MRI machine to emergency personnel Wednesday.
Kindy Lofton (far right) describes the power of the magnet in the MRI machine to emergency personnel Wednesday.
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Local firefighters and law enforcement met Wednesday at Bolivar Medical Center to learn about the potential hazards of visiting the MRI room in the event of an emergency.

Kindy Lofton, MRI safety officer at the hospital, said, "Anything magnetic such as a pocket knife can be very dangerous," said Lofton.

The MRI system has a powerful magnetic field of the scanner that can attract certain metallic objects known as “ferromagnetic” objects, causing them to move suddenly and with great force towards the center of the MRI system.

This may pose a risk to the patient or anyone in the way of the object.

The machine was placed in the hospital in 2003 but no safety training had been conducted for emergency personnel.

Lofton said it’s important to remember the magnet is always on.

"I want to ensure the safety of my patients while visiting the MR room," said Lofton.

During the safety meeting, Lofton explained the high strengths of the MR system.

"The magnet could possibly pull the ink from tattoos that are as old as a year and once something sticks to it, it is hard to get it off," said Lofton.

To ensure the safety of all individuals entering the MR system room, the Radiology team at Bolivar Medical Center prompts individuals to do the following before entering the MR system room: remove all metallic objects before entering the MR environment or MR system room including hearing aids, beeper, cell phone, keys, eyeglasses, hair pins, barrettes, jewelry, watch, safety pins, paper clips, money clip, credit cards, bank cards, magnetic strip cards, coins, pens, pocket knife, nail clipper, steel-toed boots/shoes, and tools.

Loose metallic objects are especially prohibited in the MRI system room and MRI environment.