MRIs breed MRSA

MRI scanners are infested with bacteria, and apparently cleaning them is somewhat of a conundrum:

The magnets and the pads on the table can harbor MRSA and need to be cleaned. But cleaning crews are not permitted to go into the imaging room unless technologists supervise them at all times. Since the cleaning crew usually comes late at night after the technologists have gone home, the MRI rooms are rarely if ever cleaned.

Why isn’t it a good idea to clean the room unsupervised? Well, it can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing:

For example, if they bring in anything metal (like a screw driver) it will be drawn into the magnet at over 60 miles an hour . . . Also if a new cleaning person has a pacemaker or aneurysm clip and enters the room he could be killed.

Wait, the news gets worse. There are no sinks in MRI rooms, given the challenge of running pipes into an MRI suite. And don’t even think about mobile MRIs:

Mobile MRIs don’t even have running water and technologists rarely wash their hands between patients. They keep spreading these bacteria. They’re often too busy and infection control gets overlooked. The price of an MRI is coming down so they need to scan more patients in less time, leaving no time for proper infection control. Technologists feel they could be fired if they are too slow at turning around the MRI room for the next patient.

Yikes. Something to think about before you request that MRI for back pain.


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