Woman takes a gun to MRI and gets shot with it

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A female medical patient was lucky to receive only superficial injuries when the handgun she was carrying went off during an MRI scan.

According to a report filed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the incident occurred in June when the patient, a 57-year-old woman, was admitted for a scan. (The report does not list the woman’s name or the location, beyond it being in the U.S.)

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“A patient was brought into the magnet room with a concealed ferrous (made of iron) handgun,” the report notes. “In the process of entering the bore, the handgun was attracted to the magnet and fired a single round. The patient received a gunshot wound in the right buttock area. The patient was examined by a physician at the site who described the entry and exit holes as very small and superficial, only penetrating subcutaneous tissue.”

The report also notes that the patient had undergone “a standard screening procedure for ferrous objects, which includes weapons specifically, and answered no to all screening questions.”

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The magnetic fields and radio waves used in magnetic resonance imaging or MRI are so powerful that patients need to be careful of any metal that might be on their person. Even false eyelashes that use tiny magnets instead of glue could be a problem.

The incident with the gun is not even the first of its kind. In 2018, a man in Long Island was injured and then charged with reckless endangerment after the gun he was carrying discharged in the MRI room. The bullet passed through both his thighs. He had denied having any metal objects on him.

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And just this year, a Brazilian man was killed when the concealed handgun he was carrying went off near an MRI in Sao Paulo. Leandro Mathias de Novaes, a lawyer and supporter of gun ownership, was accompanying his mother for a scan when the weapon fired, hitting him in the abdomen. He died a month later from his injuries.

In a less tragic event in 2013, a police officer in Carol Stream, Ill., was investigating a burglary in a doctor’s office when the MRI machine pulled his gun away from him and, being a powerful magnet, wouldn’t let it go. No one was injured in that incident.

In the latest case, the report calmly identifies the issue as a “use of device problem,” noting that, “per protocol, the patient was taken to the hospital and the patient later informed the site that they were okay and healing well.”

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