Mumbai: A Lalbaug resident, Rajesh Maru, died on Saturday evening after getting pulled into an MRI machine along with an oxygen cylinder. The incident occurred at the BMC-run Nair Hospital. The civic body has ordered an inquiry to ascertain how the cylinder made it to the MRI room where metal objects are not allowed.
For Maru’s death, caused by excessive inhalation of oxygen, the Agripada police on Sunday arrested Dr Saurabh Lanjrekar (24), ward boy Vithal Chavan (35) and attendant Sunita Surve (35), booking them under the IPC’s section 304A (negligence causing death; a bailable offence).
The police, however, said that Rajesh Maru (32) was killed last evening when he inhaled excessive oxygen that oozed out of the cylinder when he entered the MRI room with a relative, who was there to undergo the scan.
Metallic objects are not allowed in MRI rooms and the patient’s family members said they were made to remove all such items, including mobile phone handsets, before going inside. They claimed the ward boy said that the oxygen cylinder could be carried in the room as the machine was not switched on.
“The victim, as directed by the doctor, took the patient to the MRI room for the scan. There an oxygen cylinder leaked,” a police official said.
The official claimed that the oxygen was in the liquid form which is poisonous and the victim inhaled it in an excessive amount and died on the spot. He said the patient was not affected by the incident.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is also planning to issue stricter guidelines to all civic-run hospitals in view of the incident, an official said.
Authorities at the Nair Hospital, where the incident occurred, said they were cooperating with the police in its investigation.
“The BMC administration has set up a committee, headed by deputy municipal commissioner. The inquiry report is expected by next Monday,” the official told PTI.
He said the BMC will issue stricter orders for hospital staff for handling MRI machines.
Nair Hospital’s dean, Dr Ramesh Bharmal, said, “It is a tragic incident and we will cooperate with police officials.
We cannot make any comments on how the incident occurred as it is under investigation.”
The victim’s brother-in-law, Harish Solanki, who claimed to be an eyewitness to the incident, said, “My mother, Lakshmibai, has been admitted to the ICU of the hospital since 26 January for treatment of viral fever.
“Last evening, the doctor told us to get the MRI done, following which Maru and two other family members approached the MRI room,” Solanki said.
He said the ward boy asked the family members to remove all metallic objects, including mobile phone handsets, before entering the room, which they did.
“The ward boy, initially, told them that only two persons can go inside the MRI room, besides the patient, but later said the only person will be allowed. Rajesh Maru volunteered,” he said.
Solanki said the ward boy told them that the oxygen cylinder could be carried inside the MRI room despite the objection raised by family members of the patient.
“One one of my family members objected saying that the oxygen cylinder should not be allowed inside as it is metallic and can prove dangerous. However, the ward boy told us that the MRI machine was not switched on…,” he said.
However, when Maru and the patient entered the MRI room, the machine was already switched on, Solanki claimed.
“The powerful magnetic field of the machine pulled Maru towards it along with the oxygen cylinder. Maru’s hand got trapped in the machine while the opening of the oxygen cylinder snapped. After hearing this commotion, we all rushed into the room and pulled him out of the machine,” he said.
Another relative said a doctor, and an ayah was inside the MRI room at the time of the incident. The doctor was later identified as Saurav Lanjekar.
“Maru’s finger got crushed in the machine. By the time he was pulled out, he had inhaled the excessive amount of oxygen (which leaked from the cylinder), causing his death on the spot,” Solanki said.
As per the preliminary postmortem report, “The cause of the death was bilateral pneumothorax due to traumatic subcutaneous emphysema”.
Pneumothorax is an abnormal collection of air in the pleural space between the lung and the chest wall.
Following the incident, Agripada Police registered a case under section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the IPC against Lanjekar, the ayah, and the ward boy, identified only as Vitthal.
The Maharashtra government has announced a Rs 5 lakh compensation to the kin of the victim.
Announcing the compensation, BJP MLA Mangal Prabhat Lodha said the three staffers have been suspended and an inquiry has been initiated against them by the hospital.
Lodha said he had sought an assistance and action against the hospital staffers from Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.