Skip to comments.Spontaneous Discharge of a Firearm in an MR Imaging Environment
Posted on 07/11/2008 4:23:55 AM PDT by marktwain
An incident recently occurred at an outpatient imaging center in western New York State, in which a firearm spontaneously discharged in a 1.5-T MR imaging environment with active shielding. To our knowledge, this is the first documented case of such an occurrence.
An off-duty police officer went to an outpatient imaging center (not affiliated with our institution) in western New York State to have an MR imaging examination. The facility housed a 1.5-T MR unit (Signa; General Electric Medical Systems, Milwaukee, WI) with active shielding. The officer was carrying a model 1991 A-1 compact.45 caliber semiautomatic pistol (Colt's Manufacturing, Hartford, CT).
The officer notified the technologist that he was carrying the weapon before entering the MR dressing room. The technologist told the officer to take the gun with him. The technologist intended to meet the officer in the MR patient waiting area before the examination and secure the weapon in that room, where he felt it would be safe. However, the officer apparently misunderstood and took the gun into the MR suite. The technologist was entering the officer's personal data into the computer and did not see him entering the MR suite.
Once the officer was inside the MR suite, the gun was pulled from his hand as he attempted to place the gun on top of a cabinet 3 ft (0.9 m) away from the magnet bore. The gun was immediately pulled into the bore, where it struck the left side and spontaneously discharged a round into the wall of the room at the rear of the magnet. Fortunately, no one was injured.
The weapon's thumb safety was reportedly engaged when the gun discharged.
(Excerpt) Read more at ajronline.org ...
A number of years ago a not-so-bright patient transporter brought a patient on a stretcher into the MRI suite, oxygen tank in tow. The tank went flying missing the patient’s head by millimeters, crashing into the magnet, detroying the plastic housing and severing some electrical connections. It cost a pretty penny to repair, and we were down for weeks.
Sounds like the officer is not smart enough to carry a weapon.
Phew! Never would happen to me. I carry a Glock...nyuk,nyuk,nyuk. OK, an admittedly cheap shot at all you 1911 guys. Sorry.
Just out of curiosity, why aren’t there metal detectors set up near the entrances to these machines? Just as a precaution should someone forget.
Seems like a common sense measure to prevent such items from getting close enough to the magnetic field to be a threat.
Your hospital was lucky.
When you're not lucky ....
In 2001, Michael Colombini, 6, was killed while undergoing an MRI when an oxygen tank flew out of the hands of an anesthesiologist toward the machine, hitting him in the head. ............ In 2003, a New Mexico woman sued a Los Alamos hospital, claiming the magnetic pull of an MRI caused an oxygen tank to hit her in the back.
I went in for my first MRI, many years ago, having never heard of MRI before, wearing steel toed work boots. the technician told me to empty my pockets and pretty much did not ask me if I had any metal on me.
I went in feet first and of course the inevitable happened, as I approached the loop my feet shot up and locked to the roof of the MRI-
at that point the tech untied my shoes and my feet slipped out. he then spent quite a while removing my shoes from the MRI machine.
Years ago I worked in metal shops and that is a big concern. Seems people with metal splinters in their eyes make a big mess in there sometimes.
enjoy your big fat mostly plastic tinker toy.
I will continue to cherish my STEEL 1943 vintage Remington Rand 1911A1, my model 19 S&W, my 2 Ruger Vaqueros, my Colt Mustang, my 2 S&W vintage 1890’s break tops, my Ruger Redhawk, Ruger Mk II... and a plethora of cap and ball replicas and originals.
stupid idiiot cop and stupid idiot medical crew, any chance of residual magnetism would grab anything metallic, especially that close to the machine!
The 1991A1 is not a toy, it is a full size .45, almost identical to the 1911
My fathers 1940’s vintage 1911 was made by the Singer sewing machine company.
He was making reference to a Glock.
A 1911 should not fire unless the thumb safety is off and the grip safety depressed prior to squeezing the trigger. Unless the MRI unit released these safeties, or the gun was in an unsafe condition; either worn parts or kept unlocked with the hammer down on a chambered round, or a combination of both, I don’t see how this could happen.
Something similar happened at a hospital in Valhalla, NY (Westchester county) some years ago, but it didn't miss, killing the patient.
Seems like a common sense measure to prevent such items from getting close enough to the magnetic field to be a threat.
I believe that metal detectors work by using magnetic fields: These things put out such overwhelming fields, my guess is that it would be useless anywhere nearby. I've seen cases where the monitor screens of the office computers used by the staff were skewed, and this is a good distance from the imaging hardware and behind well shielded walls.
n 2001, Michael Colombini, 6, was killed while undergoing an MRI when an oxygen tank flew out of the hands of an anesthesiologist toward the machine, hitting him in the head.
In 2003, a New Mexico woman sued a Los Alamos hospital, claiming the magnetic pull of an MRI caused an oxygen tank to hit her in the back.
In 1992, a 74-year-old woman hemorrhaged and died after an aneurysm clip in her brain shifted while she was on a table preparing for an MRI.
from article:MRI Scanner Accidents on the Rise
You probably know that a Singer-manufactured 1911 is worth a lot of money. Singer only made a few hundred 1911s.
Ya know...if he had a Macintosh he wouldn't have this problem.
A 1911 should not fire unless the thumb safety is off and the grip safety depressed prior to squeezing the trigger. Unless the MRI unit released these safeties, or the gun was in an unsafe condition; either worn parts or kept unlocked with the hammer down on a chambered round, or a combination of both, I dont see how this could happen.
I think that inertia could move the firing pin forward with enough force if the gun impacted muzzle first. Anyone else want to weigh in on this? I know I’m going to check out my
1911 when I get home and see if this is possible. (No, I’m not going to throw it against the wall to find out!)
There's a grip safety AND a thumb safety. The grip safety, IIRC, is plastic or aluminum. I don't see how the MRI could simultaneously release the grip AND the thumb safety, AND cause the firing pin to move forward. All these moving parts are in different places and move in different directions . . . .
My guess is that either he had the hammer down on a round (very unsafe and unnecessary) and the hammer struck the primer when the pistol hit the wall of the MRI, or he just had an AD while fumbling with his pistol and is blaming it on the MRI.
I don't have my 1911A1 on me, so I don't remember if it has a hammer block like my Sig or my little Walther. But I think having the hammer down would bypass it even if it did have one.
I'm sure he does. Beware the man who only has one gun. He probably knows how to use it.
i was talking about PowderMonkey Glock from post 6.
Yeah, I read the complete story AFTER I posted (a bad habit). It seems the magnetic field disengaged the firing pin block and allowed the firing pin to strike the primer discharging the weapon.
This is not the fault of the officer. I have worked
in MRI environments-it is the technicians/nurses responsibility to deal with “prepping” the patient. Then
again, it could be that the tech was intimidated by the
big, bad gun that they weren’t sure what to do.
I don’t care how many safeties, ect are on a gun. When you have a gun vs an mri the mri will win everytime. Guns were not designed to withstand an mri environment.
I had had a piece of rust removed from my eye 15 years prior, they insisted on checking my eye with some sort of scope before allowing me to proceed w/ the MRI.
OK, admittedly one of the few incidents where a handgun got up on its own and tried to shoot somebody. ;-)
1911s don’t have hammer blocks. Some, like this one, have firing pin blocks that don’t allow the pin to travel unless they are moved out of the way by the action of the grip safety (none of mine do and I have over two dozen 1911s). After reading the story it appears that the magnetic field actuated the firing pin block and allowed the firing pin to set off the round, either through the action of the magnetic field or the impact of the weapon against the tube.
What do folks with stainless steel pins in their hands (like me) do? My knee injury predated MRIs.
I've heard you can get a CAT scan on 75% power.
I guess steel bridgework and pins or screws in your bones are a no-go, then?
ALL Colt 1991 1911's have the Series 80 firing pin safety pictured in red below.
The firearm cannot fire unless the trigger is pulled, the grip safety engaged to ALLOW the trigger to move, and the manual safety off.
Colt went through a HUGE liability case and this 'modification' to the design was the result.
I respectfully disagree.
The officer notified the technologist that he was carrying the weapon before entering the MR dressing room. The technologist told the officer to take the gun with him.
Unless you have experience with high-gauss fields / equipment, you are unlikely to appreciate their reach and power. The Officer informed the proper person who 'assumed' the Officer understood what was not clearly communicated. Fortunately only property damage and a good object lesson about assumptions!
Regardless of the firearm mechanics, safety on or off, an internal spark, caused by eddy currents generated by flying metal through that strong of a magnetic field and igniting the gunpowder within the round would cause me concern. Nothing explosive, especially surrounded by any type of conductor, should be near an MRI.
I’ve got a stent and a titanium/ceramic aortic valve. Both supposed to be non-magnetic.
Not sure if that prevents my having an MRI or not.
I’ve worked in the vicinity of machines but never closer than approx 15’-20’.
I can only imagine 1.5 teragauss.
The original design of the 1911 has a pin susceptible to it, but some designs today do not. The force needed to actually do that will vary based on the weight of the pin and the forces of any (if present) springs it has to overcome to do so.
I’m walking around with two Sirolimus-eluting coronary stents manufactured by Cordis. Great product. “Takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’!” Ahem...definately check with the manufacturer and your heart doc to make sure. Mine says it’s safe around MRI units with a mag strength of 3 Tesla or less, but I’m not going near the infernal thing without first checking with my doc. Don’t want the stents to do a replay of the clawing alien chest-burst scene.
IIRC the Singers are the most valuable vintage 1911s around. I don’t know much about 1911s (just don’t work for me - tried a Kimber and it just didnt fit), but I think that there were only about 500 Singers made.
One gun is nice, but I like carrying the "right tool for the job" and not all jobs are equal.
Another example of the ongoing degradation of English language skills by our so-called educational system. The correct term for someone who operates technical equipment is "technician". Sheesh...
Yes we do.
He does not use that one for day to day carry.
“My fathers 1940s vintage 1911 was made by the Singer sewing machine company.”
That thing is probably worth a fortune. The Singers are the most rare as I understand. I seen one listed in SGN that went for over $80,000 at auction.
I am carrying a fair amount of steel in my lower body (ex-motorcycle road racer).
I have had several MRIs with the steel in place.
The technicians take great care to make sure NOT to do the MRI on the actual body part with the steel in it (i.e. I go in head first and they do not let my legs actually go into the machine). But, I THINK the fact that everything is stainless steel (non-magnetic) provides a fair level of protection.
IN any case, I have never had a plate or screw come flying out through my flesh.
It still sounds like the cop was not listening to the technologist. He screwed up.
I think you should crawl back into your hole. How could the officer have known?