When MRI Errors Harm Patients
Dangers To Patients Undergoing MRI
Unfortunately, the MRI is not without its dangers. Both the powerful electromagnetic field generated by the device and the radio frequency-induced electrical currents can cause potential harm to patients.
Patients are at risk for the following types of injuries during an MRI procedure:
- The use of Gadolinium-based contrast dyes during an MRI may increase the risk for a particular complication in patients with kidney failure called nephrogenic systemic fibrosis. This rare syndrome causes thickening of the skin and internal organs of the body.
- Second-degree skin burns have been reported (rarely) in individuals with tattoos containing jet black iron oxide ink.
- Metallic brain aneurysm clips can migrate during an MRI scan and cause potentially fatal lacerations to cerebral arteries.
- Pacemakers and implantable heart defibrillators can move within the body during an MRI. Because these implants are metal, they can heat up during the procedure and burn the surrounding tissue. The devices may malfunction.
- Metallic instruments such as oxygen canisters, buckets or other metallic objects that are unsecured within the MRI area can turn into projectiles and strike, injure or kill a patient within the MRI tunnel.
Failure To Read And Interpret An MRI Scan
Patients who undergo an MRI for a brain scan and who are scheduled for brain surgery to remove a tumor might naturally expect their scan to be read and reviewed by a specialist such as their own neurosurgeon.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Often, MRI test results are read by general radiologists, who may fail to read and interpret the results correctly.
The failure of a radiologist or other health care worker to properly read and interpret an MRI scan can result in patient injury, including:
- Delayed diagnosis
- Delays in receiving proper medical care
- Illness or death due to misdiagnosis
If you have been injured during an MRI procedure or have been misdiagnosed due to the negligence of a health care worker, you may have grounds to file a medical malpractice suit.