Weird incident in the MRI room..


A tech who is a type 1 diabetic accidently walked into the MRI room wearing an insulin pump.. the pump flew into the gantry...luckily the patient wasnt harmed... however the tech recieved a large bolus (over 30 units) of insulin as the pump failed (because of the MRI magnet). He later was seen by a volunteer to be confused and then he was brought to the ER for treatment....treated with IV D50 x2 and released....

There are nurses in the department who are diabetic and use insulin pumps. Unlike the tech they rarely walk into the MRI room (maybe once or twice a shift to push contrast or start an IV) The management has made this tech (mentioned above) leave his insulin pump locked up in a locker and insist he do manual injections of insulin.... policy is being discussed as to what to do with the other staff members who use an insulin pump.... this is insane.:idea:.. does anyone see anything wrong with that? :down:

In my oppinion anyone can make a mistake and walk into the room with say a CELL phone... I've never heard management mandating a persons treatment of their disease to fit institutional policies. Any comments? Discuss......


132 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care: Cardiac, VAD, Transplant.

We got a letter from our son's insulin pump manufacturer back in May that disclosed information regarding this possibility to us. We had to place a permanent sticker on the back of the pump with the MRI warning. Tough one for the tech to deal with! To be required to revert back to shots would not be easy.


120 Posts

you're missing my point... why should he revert back to shots.... he can take the pump off when he goes into the room....

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dianah, ASN

9 Articles; 3,691 Posts

Specializes in RETIRED Cath Lab/Cardiology/Radiology. Has 48 years experience.

It does not seem right that policy prevails over one's personal diabetes control, especially when there is a simple alternative.

Some ppl only achieve a "normal" life with an insulin pump.

Would TPTB shove that person BACKWARDS, to brittle control, by depriving said person of the pump?

I hope cooler heads prevail, and it's mandated that all persons entering the MRI suite are checked by the MRI tech BEFORE crossing the threshold, AND that leaving the insulin pump outside the suite is REQUIRED (along with the usual: cell phone, kelly clamps, scissors, credit cards, hospital ID with magnetic stripe, etc.).

Diligence on the part of the MRI personnel is CRITICAL here, as others who don't routinely work in that area may not remember to remove all the above articles from their person upon entering the suite.

Perhaps the person using the insulin pump can bring documentation from his MD stating his diabetes control and health would be placed at grave risk if he was mandated to do without the insulin pump . . .

That's MHO on it, KEVIN. :)


301 Posts

you're missing my point... why should he revert back to shots.... he can take the pump off when he goes into the room....

But WILL he? He obviously forgot this time.

How many others who use a pump will "accidentally" forget?

Jolie, BSN

6,375 Posts

Specializes in Maternal - Child Health. Has 37 years experience.

Would this be an ADA issue, requiring th hospital to make "reasonable accomodations" for this employee?

Seems like administration requiring him to revert to insulin shots is the equivalent of practicing medicine without a license.


1,348 Posts

This person is putting himself and the patients in danger by working in MRI. Those insulin pumps are like watches and glasses - you wear them all the time and forget that they are there until you get in the shower. What if there were and emergency and the tech needed to run into the chamber quickly. I seriously doubt that the person would remember to yank off their insulin pump.

I have been in facilities that you can't even get into the MRI control room with ANY metal objects, much less into the chamber room. This is a safety issue. The hospital is not trying to be mean, but they will be held liable if the pump came flying off and hit a pt. And the hospital could be sued by the tech or the techs family for injury to the tech related to an OD of insulin because of the magnet. They would claim that the hospital failed to set up a system to prevent personnel from entering the chamber with the pump on and the tech was injured or killed by an insulin OD.

By requiring the tech to take injections instead of the pump, they are keeping EVERYONE safe. You said he "accidently" walked in. Everyone that I know is required to take MRI safety training for this very reason. And if this person routinely works down there and "forgot", there is no way that allowing him to wear his pump would be safe since he could definitely forget again. He needs to discuss with his doctor the issue and/or consider transferring to a place where he is not responsible for the MRI. He is knowingly putting himself and his patients at risk. I don't think that the ADA is going to take priority on this one because the pt in the chamber could be affected by this not just the tech.

DutchgirlRN, ASN, RN

1 Article; 3,932 Posts

Specializes in OB, M/S, HH, Medical Imaging RN. Has 33 years experience.

Not actually a weird incident it's expected to happen and is why patients with insulin pumps must disconnect and lock them up prior to their scan. I don't see how they can require this tech to not use his insulin pump, it will just have to be his responsibility to remember not to go in the chamber with it attached. Once or twice making that mistake should do the trick.


1 Post

I recently accepted a position as a ct tech for a very large and well known facility. I have worn an insulin pump for 8 years and have very little succes with a regimen of insulin injections. That is why what happened to me is very discouraging. Due to the fact that i will be working close to an MRI field and the opportunity exists that on eveing shifts i might have to "run into a room to help a patient" I am being reassigned to diagnostic radiology until another CT position opens. I understand everyone's concern for patient safetybut my understanding is that there should be two individuals with level ii MR experience or knowledge in the immediate area at all times. So, in the case above, the tech with the insulin pump should be calling a code or paging the appropriate assistafor emergencies. In my case, at this free standing facility i would be calling 911. Although they did not fire me nor did they relinquish any payit is discouraging to have learned a specialized field and then be told you can't do what you love.


120 Posts

as long as you dont enter the MRI room (you can even walk up to the open door of the MRI suite) nothing will happen to your pump.

Why would you have to "RUN INTO" the MRI room to help a patient... having your pump is like having a cell phone in your pocket or a stethoscope around your neck... YOU HAVE TO TAKE IT OFF BEFORE GOING IN NO MATTER WHAT... this makes you no different than other people working in the DEPT.

Dont let people discriminate against you because of their ignorance... they tried to do that to me at my job untill I wrote a letter to administration.....

Fight the POWER! If there is anything I can do let me know.... feel free to PM me... just tonight I had several injections in the MRI suite... and guess what... NOTHING HAPPENED... the pump comes off just like the cell phone comes out of my pocket.... life goes on.


251 Posts

Specializes in medical/telemetry/IR.

I've had some experience with insulin pumps in last almost 2 years since my dd was dx.

I can see where the tech could forget.Did the pump survive the crash into magnet?

what if while he was seated at mri controls-what if his pump was also attached to small chain connected to wall.

or if he had omnipod-I don't think there is anything metal in the pods. but of course that would be extreme having to change pumps.


120 Posts


-there is not enought ferromagnetic material in the pump that would suck it into the magnet if it is hangin on the clip on your waist. The magnetic field WILL however damage the circuits and possibly discharge large amount of insulin into the wearer

-The idea with the chain is ridiculous... while I understand you're trying to make it easier for the wearer you're missing a crucial point.

There can be NOTHING ferromagnetic (electronics included) that can be taken into the MRI room without either becoming a danger to the patient or damaging the electronics

Thus the MRI tech. is no different than an MRI tech who wears an insulin pump. They BOTH have to remove anything in their pockets before entering the room. Weather it's a cell phone or an insulin pump.

We're beating a dead horse here.... to finalize things...being a pump wearer would not automatically disqualify you from working with MRI's

I'll be glad to answer anyone else questions regarding this... even with my limited experiece with MRI's.

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