MUMBAI, India – A freak accident involving an MRI machine killed a man in a hospital in Mumbai, India.
The details are harrowing: Rajesh Maru, 32, had been in the MRI room with a female relative who was preparing to undergo a scan, reports News18. The fatal mistake: He was holding the woman’s metal oxygen canister.
Because MRI machines use extremely powerful magnets, no such metal objects can be in the room when one is powered up, explains the Hindustan Times.
Police say that Maru was sucked toward the cylinder, and the arm holding the oxygen canister became trapped and, by some accounts, mangled. As attendants tried furiously to free him, Maru inhaled lethal amounts of liquid oxygen that had begun leaking from the canister he’d been holding, according to an autopsy.
Police have launched an investigation of “death by negligence” against a doctor and two staffers at Nair Municipal Hospital, reports the Indian Express. The hospital, too, is investigating, though its initial statement emphasized that signs warn people against bringing metal objects into the room.
Maru’s family is outraged at what they perceive to be the hospital shirking responsibility, and they complain that nobody stopped Maru from entering with the oxygen canister. It remained unclear whether the machine was already on, perhaps unnoticed, when Maru entered. The accident reportedly happened as Maru was helping hospital staff move his relative from one stretcher to another, which highlights another aspect of the story: the regularity with which understaffed hospitals in India ask relatives for such assistance.