Let’s Discuss MRI Safety




By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder


In a shocking story, a 40-year-old man in Brazil died after bringing a concealed loaded gun into the MRI room where his mother was receiving the scan.

The MRI, created by Dr. Raymond Damadian in the 1970s, is today widely considered one of the best medical diagnostic imaging methods. Short for magnetic resonance imaging, MRI uses a large magnet and radio waves to look at organs and structures inside your body. Essentially, an MRI makes detailed pictures of your insides. It is not the same as an x-ray or CT (CAT) scan, which both use radiation. 

“The static magnetic field of the MRI system is exceptionally strong. A 1.5 T [tesla] magnet generates a magnetic that is approximately 21,000 greater than the earth's natural field. In such an environment ferromagnetic metal objects can become airborne as projectiles. Small objects such as paper clips and hairpins have a terminal velocity of 40mph when pulled into a 1.5 T magnet and therefore pose a serious risk to the patient and anyone else in the scan room,” according to the University of California, San Francisco’s Department of Radiology & Biomedical Imaging.

This is a very strong magnetic force, to say the least, which is why it is a good idea to follow all of the precautions when getting an MRI or accompanying someone who is getting an MRI. Removing metallic objects, because they can interact with the magnetic fields of an MRI, is an absolute must.

Per several reports, the man and his mother were instructed to remove such objects. Unfortunately, the man did not do this which cost him his life.


The magnetic field from the MRI machine pulled the weapon from his waistband and caused a shot to be fired, CNN Brazil and Folha De S.Paulo reported,” according to this report from People Magazine.

According to a report from News 18, “As per the reports, the man’s licensed weapon concealed under his waistband was pulled out of its place by the magnetic forces from the MRI machine. The powerful magnetic was strong enough to pull his stomach out of his body.”

He was hospitalized but eventually died from his injuries. Getting an MRI is a safe procedure, but it can be deadly if the proper precautions are not followed. Back in 2018, a man in India died after being sucked into an MRI machine.

“Rajesh Maru, 32, was yanked towards the machine by its magnetic force after he entered the room carrying an oxygen cylinder, the city’s police said in a statement,” according to a report from The Guardian.

In another very tragic story back in 2001, a six-year-old boy was killed in an MRI accident. The magnetic force from the MRI threw a metal oxygen tank across the room and crushed his skull. This was an accident and mistake on the hospital, according to this report

And yet in another MRI disaster, a nurse was crushed by a machine. Fortunately, she survived her injuries.

How can we be proactive?

If you have to get an MRI, there is nothing wrong with speaking up and asking the doctor and staff about safety protocols. It is also imperative to never conceal any forbidden objects and bring them in against their safety measures. Even something as small as a bobby pin or loose change, because these objects contain metal, should not be brought in the MRI room.

For more information on how you can prepare and be safe for an MRI, check out these pH blogs:


Enjoy your healthy life!

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice. Please consult with your doctor or another competent healthcare practitioner to get specific medical advice for your situation.


The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses, and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products, and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.


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