Nurse suffers 'crushing injuries' after getting pinned between MRI machine

Ainah Cervantes was tending to a patient on a bed when the machine’s magnetic force pulled the hospital bed toward it

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A California nurse was caught between an MRI machine and a bed in a freak accident leaving her with “crushing injuries” that required surgery.

Ainah Cervantes, a nurse at Kaiser Permanente medical center in Redwood City, was tending to a patient on a bed when the machine’s magnetic force pulled the hospital bed toward it. Cervantes was pinned between the bed and the machine as the patient fell to the floor, uninjured.

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“I was getting pushed by the bed,” the nurse told investigators in a report obtained by KTVU. “Basically, I was running backwards. If I didn’t run, the bed would smash me underneath.”

Cervantes had severe lacerations requiring surgery, including the removal of two embedded screws, documents show.

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A probe was conducted several months after the February incident and concluded the medical facility “failed to provide radiologic services in a safe manner.”

The investigation revealed that the problem started with the nurse and patient care tech being left unsupervised without MRI personnel. No one, including the patient, was ever screened, KTVU reported.

“The many safety failures… created a culture of unsafe practices,” the California Department of Public Health’s investigation concluded.

Sheila Gilson, senior vice president for Kaiser Permanente San Mateo, said incidents like these do not happen often.

“This was a rare occurrence, but we are not satisfied until we understand why an accident occurs and implement changes to prevent it from occurring again,” Gilson said in a statement.

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Kaiser Permanente is facing an US$18,000 fine from the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health for the workplace  accident.

The protocol to prepare for an MRI requires individuals to change into a gown and remove things that might affect the magnetic imaging, such as jewelry, hairpins, watches and dentures.

Failure to do so is a safety hazard for the individual undergoing the scan and for anyone else in the room because they will get pulled toward the machine.

MRI expert Tobias Gilk said MRI machines do not stop being magnetically attracted once they attach to an object.

“It keeps pulling and pulling and pulling, squeezing to try to get the magnetically attracted object closer to, in contact with the MRI scanner itself,” he said.

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