One of my favorite stories had me going in to get an MRI on my knee (partial tear of the ACL) and when I got to the office with the machine they told me I would have to come back in 2 days. When I asked why, the technician lead me into the room showed me the machine with a large metal box on the inside wall and said, “The other tech decided to use the MRI to erase his hard drive, it’s gonna take us 24 hours to power this down enough to pry the computer out of there.”
When I went to get an MRI on my knee (suspected minor tear of the ACL) they were so concerned about metal in the room with the magnet they made me take out my earring, which had only been out of my ear once before in the previous 15 years. I explained to them that the particular grade of stainless from which I made it (UNS20910) was used by the Navy for minesweep gear because it is so highly non-magnetic, but they insisted I leave it in the locker with my pants. I’m amazed that they let the gun in there.
MRI magnets are wonderful things. They can erase the magnetic strips on credit cards from about 5 yards away (and that was a small one in a chemical research lab, not the kind that is used in medical imaging). The interesting thing about the incident is that the reason the policeman was there in the first place wasn’t made very clear – apparently he was there to secure a prisoner during the prisoner’s exam, if I read it correctly. Under those circumstances, I can see the officer not wanting to disarm himself unnecessarily, leading to his mistake of carrying a chunk of metal into a room with an electromagnet.
I greatly appreciate the non-hysterical tone of the article. None of the “Oh my God, it’s a gun” stuff we’ve seen so often, just “what happened, and how do we prevent it from happening again?” A piece of steel is pretty dangerous around an MRI even when it isn’t loaded…