Freak Accident at LGH Leaves Man with Broken Facial Bone
LOWELL -- A freak accident during an MRI scan at Lowell General Hospital Saints Campus last month caused a hamper to fly toward the machine’s large magnet, striking the patient and leaving the man with a fractured facial bone.
A Shields MRI technologist mistakenly brought the wrong linen hamper into the room, The Sun has learned.
Shields Health Care Group provides all MRI services at the main and Saints LGH campuses.
MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, uses powerful magnets and radio waves to produce detailed images of the body to diagnose and monitor many types of medical conditions.
Typically, MRI-safe equipment that does not contain any magnetic metal is used in rooms where the scans are performed. However, The Sun has learned, in this instance, the MRI-safe hamper was accidentally switched out with a kind used elsewhere in the hospital. Both kinds are labeled, but the technologist did not notice the wrong hamper had been pulled into the room until it was too late.
As the patient was lying down for the scan on June 16, the magnet attracted the metal-containing hamper, drawing it toward the machine. The hamper flew up and struck the side of the man’s head, causing a fracture of the orbital bone by the eyebrow, The Sun has learned.
In light of the incident, the technologist was disciplined and Shields is reviewing safety protocols with employees.
“The safety and well-being of patients is our top priority at Shields Health Care and Lowell General Hospital Saints Campus,” Dr. Stephen T. Sweriduk, medical director for Shields Health Care Group, said in a statement. “This is completely outside the norm for us because both organizations embrace rigorous safety training and education for staff. We have already met with staff to review best practices and ensure that we are doing everything possible to continue to foster a culture of safety across all of our clinical areas.”
As of Thursday, no legal action has been sought in the incident.
Shields Health Care conducts regular annual safety training of staff, along with additional training beyond requirements, according to a spokesperson.
The Shields/Lowell General Saints Campus imaging center is fully accredited by the American College of Radiology and voluntarily submits to additional, rigorous accreditation by the Joint Commission, an independent nonprofit that accredits and certifies more than 21,000 health-care organizations and programs across the country.
The facility last had an unannounced spot inspection by the state Department of Public Health three months ago, and it passed.
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