Hoag fined for crushed leg

Breast-cancer patient who was on metal gurney was pulled into an MRI machine in January 2009, Department of Public Health states.

January 27, 2010|By Brianna Bailey

State officials have fined Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian after a patient, who was wheeled into an MRI machine on a metal gurney, was sucked into a giant magnet, crushing her leg, the California Department of Public Health announced Wednesday.

Hoag will have to pay a $50,000 penalty after state health officials found the hospital failed to protect the health and safety of the patient, state public health officials said.

“We have conducted a full internal investigation and review of the relevant policies and procedures, and have added additional redundant measures to prevent future occurrences,” Hoag Chief Executive Richard Afable said in a written statement. “In addition, staff has been re-educated on their roles and responsibilities related to MRI scan room operations.”


A patient at Hoag, identified only as Patient A, was undergoing treatment for advanced breast cancer that had spread to her brain and lungs, when her leg was crushed by an MRI in January 2009, according to a report provided by the Department of Public Health.

Sedated with the powerful anesthetic propofol, the woman was supposed to undergo a diagnostic MRI test when the incident occurred.

The patient was wheeled into an area of an MRI room in a metal wheelchair gurney with the highest level of magnetic force, according to the report.

The gurney “was immediately forcibly attracted by a giant magnet ... trapping the patient between the magnet and the metal wheelchair- gurney,” according to the report.

The patient’s left leg was crushed as a result, the report said.

The woman was rushed to the hospital emergency room afterward, complaining of severe pain secondary to her leg injury, according to the report.

This is the third administrative penalty handed down by the Department of Public Health to Hoag in the past two years.

Hoag was fined in September after a patient who came to the emergency room complaining of chest pains in December was disconnected from a cardiac monitor for more than 30 minutes during his stay.

The patient went into cardiac arrest while his heart rate was not being monitored and died, according to a state report on the incident.

Hoag also was fined in 2008 after a retractor blade was left in a patient’s abdomen after a surgical procedure.

The patient had to undergo a second surgery to have the blade removed.

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