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 ...
I was going to mouth off, but had the good sense to check my MKIV Stainless with a magnet first!
Hmm. Must be Type 400.
What are the Glock barrells made of?
Good one. Because when I take the "Hardware Store" to the range, I have to stop and think and remember each one's peculiarities.
It's crap, but makes them feel better, and I understand where they are coming from.
“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.”
If you read the article it explains that the inertial firing pin block was moved out of position by the magnetic field and the impact of the pistol hitting the magnet caused the he firing pin to hit the primer. Firing during drop tests with the muzzle down was why they started using the inertial pin block in the series 80 colt 1911s.
LOL, I am the same way. The gun I use the most in my Walther P99, but when I go shooting I take everything, and have to think about where the safeties are and such.
I liken it to going to the gas station in one of my cars, I have to think which side the filler is on...
I had two MRI’s, one on my stomach and one on my brain, with a surgical steel earring in place because it was the captive-bead style and neither I nor the nurse could figure out how to remove it, and she eventually asked me what it was made of and said that if it was surgical steel it shouldn’t be an issue, and surprisingly enough, it wasn’t. I did make sure to wear stuff like sweatpants and slip-on tennis shoes, though.
Try switching form the Colt MKIV to the Mitchell P-08 Luger to the S&W wheelguns to the High Standard to the PPK. It's like taking an exam. THEN there is picking up and separating all the brass...
That's why I have been carrying lighter range cases in recent years, sticking to one caliber a day.
I notice I hit less on the days I bring many of them.
Perhaps you should contact the American Society of Radiologic Technologists or the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists about the improper use of the word "technologists".
it will also erase the magnetic strip on your credit cards and drivers license
“enjoy your big fat mostly plastic tinker toy.”
Since you are looking to start a fight, i’ll point out that the Glock will still be firing when that 1911 relic you have is lying jammed, broken or empty. I will admit that the 1911s have it over glock in the looks department. Does your RR have matching or mismatched parts?
If they have been in for more than a couple of mos the are OK, but they will degrade the image. The worry about metal is something small (ie fragment) that will move to somwhere that it can cause big trouble
For example, welders should not have MRIs - there is a high liklihood of fragments of metal in the eyes that could shift and cause problems with visions. And of course, pacemakers are big no no’s
It sounds like he wasn’t listening to the technician.
IF you’d bother to read the story at the link, you’d find 1) all safeties were engaged, 2) the muzzle connected with the wall of the magnet, causing 3) the free-floating firing-pin to strike the round in the cocked-and-locked chamber. You guys disappoint me.
I have several stainless steel staples in my chest from open heart surgery, and I later had several MRI’s no noticeable effect from the magnet though.
IF you bothered to read ANY of my later posts, you'd find that I've ALREADY corrected myself.
It never jams, has never broken(why would it?)....and I AIM (and hit what I aim at), I don't “spray and pray.....” so unless you put up a division against me, I win.
Missmatched parts? hard to tell, the slide, barrel and frame are all RR. did some armorer miss match the parts? being they are not serial numbered it would be hard to tell, but I shoot and enjoy it for what it is.....
Tactical Tupperware Tantrum
Stupid cop. MRI = MAGNETIC .... what's in a pistol? METAL.
This isn't a spontaneous firing; this is a negligent discharge from someone too stupid to realize that you don't bring ferrous metals anywhere near a running MRI.
Does the design take into account EVERY part being manipulated by an external force? The forces around the MRI magnet are not limited to triggers and external safety releases, they pull on ALL parts, making them move in ways that were probably not anticipated by Colt.
I’m glad this “fight” is over the internet. If not, everyone would be ducking and running for cover like it was high noon. ;-)
Ah, yes. I once worked for a biotech company who rented lab space in a medical building. We were fine until we started losing data from some of the workstations, and mysteriously the backup tapes (in the same room) were wiped as well. So my partner and I were in there scratching our heads over the whole thing when she says “Holy stuff, lookathat!” or something close to it. There were three paperclips stuck to the wall. Somebody had rented the space next door and installed an MRI machine. Dangedest thing we ever saw.
To make the situation even more interesting, the newer 3 Tesla (3T) magnets have an acceleration factor up to 14 times greater than than the 1.5 T magnet in this story and are thus much more dangerous when ferrous materials are present in the vicinity.
Besides the danger and fear factors contained in this story, mention was made in passing of having to turn off the magnet to remove the pistol. While this is a relatively easy process, it is also an expensive one. The last bill I received after a magnet quench (turning off the magnet) was over $140,000. Sometimes you can prevent this expense by pulling the item out of the magnet (the only such incident at a facility I worked in concerned a metal mop bucket brought into the space by a new employers who ignored the signs), took a nylon rope and 12, yes I said 12, full grown men to remove it. Superconductor magnets are not to be trifled with.
Irregardless of any other precautions put in place, the ultimate responsibility for MRI safety is the technologist working with a MRI machine. NOBODY, and I mean NOBODY should lay a hand on the door of that MRI room without the MRI technologist giving permission for that person to do so, and then only after through questioning and inspection of that persons corpus.
It is not only external materials that are potential problems. Internal parts (replacement hips, other joints, ear devices in kids, cardiac stents, brain stents, etc.) are also a potential danger to the patient during an MRI study. Orthopedic implants should be in place a minimum of 90 days before a patient has an MRI, while incomputable metallic implants in soft tissues can and will move and heat up during an MRI exam.
Folks, If you are ever unsure of what to do when getting one of these exams done, make sure you ask the technologist and share your concerns with him/her.
Be safe, be well.
Many support people in the medical field fall into two levels of training and capabilities. My ex-wife, for example, took a 4-year course (and received a BSc degree) at a major university to become a medical technologist.
She could run lab tests (or even the lab itself) and do quite a number of other things which were outside of the knowledge and expertise of a 2-year degreed medical technician.
I'm aware of the derivation of these sorts of titles - this "title inflation" has permeated every aspect of our culture. Custodial engineer "sounds snappier" than janitor, "waste management engineer" sounds snappier than garbageman, Human Resources Administrator sounds snappier than Personnel Manager, etc., etc., etc. ad nauseum....
None of that changes the fact that it's all pretentious puffery... /grin
The gun fired because it slammed into the MRI machine with enough force that inertia overcame the firing pin spring and the pin hit the primer with enough force to make it fire. Having seen the rest of this report and pictures, when the gun was retrieved the safety was still on, LOCKING the slide forward and the EMPTY case was not ejected from the pistol. The hammer was still at full cock. My shooting buddy is a radiologist and this was big news last year when he showed the account of the incident.
The series 80 Colts have a firing pin lock that is supposed to prevent this freakish sort of slamfire.
Glocks don't work for me (the grip angle is way off for me), but I can nail 8" steel plates at 50 yds all day long with my 1911s, and none of them have ever given me any trouble.
Yes I know
The MRI pulled up on the sear, internally. Short of an empty chamber, there was nothing that could be done to avoid this discharge. No safety "failed". All the the thumb safety did was to keep the weapon from chambering a new round. This article appeared at my forensic site last May, and apparently occurred eight years ago.
“Missmatched parts? hard to tell, the slide, barrel and frame are all RR. did some armorer miss match the parts?”
Shortly after the start of WWII when production of 1911s was gearing up, colt shipped large batches of older parts (WWI vintage) to other manufacturers including RR. Consequently some have slides from Colt and Frames from RR, or vis versa. I think the ones with the mixed parts are favored by collectors.
Most stainless steel alloys are not magnetic, a discovery that greatly annoyed my refrigerator magnet addicted sister upon completion of her kitchen remodeling frenzy.
I enjoyed much mirth and merriment at her wrath upon my cluttered ‘fridge door hating, aircraft mechanic brother-in-law, who understanding why compasses are mounted with brass or stainless screws, slyly endorsed her selection of stainless steel appliances.
I’ve never had an MRI or CAT and haven’t had any but dental X-Rays in 20 years. So MRI tech is relatively unknown to me.
I knew an MRI was dangerous in the presence of ferrous materials, but that’s about it...
If they have metal detecting equipment, then they should use it and just eat the false alerts, what’s the use of having security equipment if you ignore it?
I doubt even if the hammer notch failed when it struck the MRI machine that a round would discharge-again, the trigger would have to be pressed and the grip safety would have to have been released as well.....
I am betting on some spontaneous ignition of the primer via static or other EM energy source....
Any CE/ME/EEs out there with some insight on this circumstance?
Does lead styphnate (priming compound) combine under strong EM fields and detonate?
In away I am sympathetic. I have a lot of folks call me the “Computer guy” or “IT Guy”, belaying that fact that I am actually the IT manager/director and have hard earned degrees and certifications out the a$$. I kind of laugh it off, but my newest green tech is also a “Computer guy”
Hmm. I guess I fall into the “shoulda read more” crowd.
Okay, I’ll buy it -the magnetism retracted the firing pin plunger and pulled the FP hard enough to fire the round....
I’m on several boards of directors, President of one organization and Vice-President of another. Whenever I’m asked what my position is, however, I usually just say “chief gopher” or “designated lackey”. I’ve found it puts people at ease and usually makes it a lot easier to work with them.
I understand that there are legitimate professional distinctions and classifications, and that it’s sometimes helpful to be specific and precise when referring to them. I do believe, however, that our society as a whole has gone overboard with title inflation and organizational jargon to the point of fetishisation... /grin
Hey, it is good for the economy, keeps business card makers busy ;-)
We have found that a much better process is to require a standardized questionnaire, consistent questioning, and if in doubt, investigation of specific types of implants to determine MRI compatibility. If there is ANY doubt whatsoever, that patient gets another type of study.
As you noted, current surgical staples and clips are almost invariably stainless steel, with a very low or non-existant magnet pull. Irregardless of the the type of metal, overexposure to a MRI magnetic field can still cause magnetic eddy currents which result in heating of the metal in question. In a normal study this typically is not a problem, but it can be a POTENTIAL issue with extended exams in high strength fields.
Those with tattoos should volunteer that information as many tattoo inks incorporate metallic compounds. The potential discomfort from heating can be alleviated with the use of cold compresses if the the technologist knows of them.