This case involves an 8-year-old boy with a history of seizures who presented to the hospital for a brain MRI. During the MRI, the patient felt heat on his head and informed the technician. As it began to burn more, the child cried out for the technician to stop the scan. In spite of the child’s cries, the technician continued with the scan. The child subsequently suffered a burn to his scalp as a result of the scan. An expert MRI technologist was sought to discuss proper steps when a patient complains of pain during an MRI.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Please describe your experience as an MRI technologist.
- 2. Has this complication ever happened to one of your patients?
Expert Witness Response E-011927
I have 25+ years of experience in the MRI field. I currently oversee daily operations for the MRI and radiology division. I am also registered in the MRI field and assist when needed in the department. Additionally, I oversee training in the MRI department for new technologists. I have seen this issue happen with a couple of patients over the years. I would need more information about the scanner this facility was using. But regardless, all MRI scanners come with a training manual and specifically state that the technologist is supposed to have constant visual and verbal contact with the patient, as well as check-in with the patient between series. Some scanners even have an “alert ball” that the patient can squeeze to alert the tech that they are experiencing discomfort. If the patient notifies the technologist that they are experiencing discomfort or the sensation of burning, the technologist needs to stop the scan immediately and check-in with the patient regarding the pain/discomfort the patient is feeling. The next step would be for the technologist to call in the physician to discuss whether or not to continue the series.