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I didn't even know that any zoo would HAVE an MRI scanner [Jan. 14th, 2009|12:25 pm]

A US woman who had a tumor on her spine was told to go to the zoo to have a MRI because she was too heavy and too wide to fit through a regular MRI machine, according to reports.

Carolyn Ragan weighed 125kg and was 152cm tall when the Kansas City hospital said their MRI machine could not hold her weight. So a medical assistant at the hospital apparently said he would help her find a solution.

"He suggested the Kansas City Zoo," Ragan reportedly said. "I thought, I know I'm big, but I'm not as big as an elephant. And my husband got mad."

Medical Imaging in Kansas City North, which has both closed and open MRI machines can typically hold up to 200 kg, but sometimes a person who weighs less can still be out of luck, according to an MRI technician.

"It depends on how they are built a lot of times and what part of their body we're scanning," said technician Sarah Abbott of Medical Imaging. "The machine can only be so open before the magnetic field dissipates into the room."

Ragan, who ended up having two surgeries and some paralysis, said she finally found an open MRI machine that held her weight, but it was embarrassing and frustrating.

"They should have machines that fit most everybody," she said.


It wouldn't have worried me, so long as the machine was properly sterilised first.

When I had both of mine done (the neck first, then the arm) I needed to wear earplugs. Can you imagine the size of earplugs for something the size of a tiger or elephant?

[User Picture]From: carlfoxmarten
2009-01-14 02:01 am (UTC)
Heh, now we can add "needing to use the Zoo's MRI machines instead of the hospital's ones" to the list of reasons to keep your weight down! =^.^=

If I ever were in a situation like that, I'd probably feel a little uncomfortable, but I'd understand the problem and solution.
(at least, I think I would, anyway)
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[User Picture]From: thefoxaroo
2009-01-14 05:12 am (UTC)
Personally I think the woman over-reacted. Sounds to me like she simply didn't want the implication of being regarded as "large as an animal" or something silly like that.

So what? The hospital didn't have a machine in her size, the zoo does. Big deal. Sounds like a practical solution to me.

Now that's she's made a fuss about it, the implication is going to stick forever.
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[User Picture]From: carlfoxmarten
2009-01-14 05:53 am (UTC)
I really have to totally agree with you, here.
That really was an over-reaction, and if she hadn't made a fuss about it, nobody would ever known, now, would they?

The problem with larger MRI machines is that they need even larger, heavier magnets to operate, and then they can become even more dangerous than they may already be...
(you might also need to have them a dozen floors underground from the rest of the hospital, with many layers of steel in between to keep the magnetic field in check)
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[User Picture]From: marmoe
2009-01-14 09:13 am (UTC)
Mu-Metal does wonders for shielding, but I would not be surprised, if making the machine bigger also degrades image resolution. So in order to encompass 0.1% of the patients you'd degrade images for everyone.

Apart from the above MRI machines cost more the bigger you make them and price does not scale linear with size.
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[User Picture]From: deckardcanine
2009-01-14 04:38 pm (UTC)
(uses metric conversion site)

Okay, that's obese, but I've heard of much worse. Hospitals ought to be prepared for that, especially since America's not getting any thinner.
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