Sunday, September 30, 2007

Lady gets trapped in medical scanner

So, a cancer patient got left in a CT machine after the staff forgot about her and went home for the night.

From the article:
After calling out, then screaming for help, she said, she spent several hours trying to free herself from the machine. Finally, she wiggled out from under a heavy blanket and out of the machine. By the time deputies found her, it had been five hours since she was placed inside.

A physician who works at the practice and knew of the incident told The Arizona Daily Star it's not the first time such a thing has happened. "People have been left in the office after hours, when something like that happens — it's the same sort of thing," Dr. Steven Ketchel said. "My guess is she was lying on the table, waiting and waiting and nobody told her she could go home.

What Dr. Steven is saying does not mesh with her experience. It sounds like he's trying to say she was just lying there, all done with her scan, and all she really needed was to realize that she could leave. Yet, she had to wiggle free of the machine itself and a heavy blanket on her (maybe some kind of lead blanket to block off parts that weren't being scanned?)--which tells me that the tech did NOT complete the scan, because she would have had the woman out of the machine and removed the blanket.

I've had a few CT scans, and while they aren't as scary as an MRI, they are pretty weird. I'm wondering how the patient was unable to free herself from it, because it's a fairly large machine. Maybe it was an MRI, and the people in quoted in the article are misinformed? Because it really WOULD take hours to wiggle out of an MRI; you have so little clearance around your body, and having a cumbersome blanket on top of her would make it hard. Plus, I don't think she speaks English, so it's possible that she was mistranslated.

People ask, "How could this happen?" Easy answer: Drugs. Maybe marijuana, but I'm guessing prescription opioids. I'll be looking for a followup, and I'll lay money on the tech being on drugs, and I'll also bet it was an MRI machine.

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