The 57-year-old woman denied having any firearms before entering the MRI, according to an adverse event report filed to the FDA.
A woman’s medical exam turned into a literal pain in the butt, thanks to a poorly placed firearm. An adverse event report sent to the Food and Drug Administration earlier this year details an alleged incident where the woman was shot in the right buttock by her own gun that was activated by a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine. Thankfully, the injury was relatively mild and she recovered just fine.
The report was first filed in July by the woman’s healthcare provider to the FDA’s Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience (MAUDE) database—a voluntary reporting system for adverse events tied to medical devices. But the incident appears to have first been publicly unearthed last week by The Messenger.
According to the report, the inadvertent discharge occurred on June 28. The unnamed 57-year-old woman entered the MRI room with a concealed and ferrous (iron-containing) handgun. As she was about to enter the machine, the gun was attracted to the powerful magnet inside it and fired off a single round into and through her right buttock. Luckily, the bullet barely penetrated her skin and the doctor on site described her entry and exit wounds as “very small and superficial.”
As anyone who’s ever worked with or gotten an MRI exam should know, the magnet powering an MRI is always on. And patients are expressly told not to bring anything potentially magnetic like metals into the room to avoid these kinds of incidents. According to the report, the woman received a standard screening for these objects and explicitly said no when asked if she was carrying any firearms. It’s not known whether she had a permit for the gun, however.
It isn’t just guns that can be dangerous while next to an MRI—people have gotten seriously hurt and killed by wheelchairs, oxygen tanks, and even metallic butt plugs. Bullets are a relatively less common threat, but not unprecedented either. Earlier this January, a Brazilian man died of a gunshot to the stomach triggered by an MRI machine while he was assisting his mother (he reportedly also denied having a weapon beforehand, according to medical staff).
The woman in this case was much more fortunate. After the injury, she was taken to a nearby hospital. And she later reported that her wound was “okay and healing well.”