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MUMBAI: A Lalbaug resident, Rajesh Maru, died on Saturday evening after getting pulled into an MRI machine along with an oxygen cylinder he allegedly carried into the room for his ailing relative. 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 deceased, Maru (32), had recently taken up a job at a clothes shop in Parel. He was at Nair Hospital, Mumbai Central, to help his brother-in-law Harish Solanki’s mother Laxmi. Doctors ordered an MRI scan for Laxmi as they suspected she had meningitis and pneumonia.
Harish, who was with Maru when the accident occurred, blamed ward boy Chavan for asking the family to take the oxygen cylinder into the MRI room. “Upon reaching the MRI section, we were asked by an attendant to remove all metallic objects such as belts, wallets and pins,” he said.
But the ward boy, who had wheeled Laxmi from the sixth floor MICU in the hospital’s old building to the MRI room in the new building, told the family they should take the cylinder inside as the patient would need oxygen, Harish said.
“We hesitated and my niece Priyanka even mentioned that the cylinder was metallic. But the ward boy said the machine wasn’t on. Maru took the cylinder in, which was sucked towards the machine by its magnetic force. Maru got dragged along.”
The police offered a different sequence of events. A senior police officer told TOI the family took Laxmi into the MRI room with the oxygen cylinder within the trolley. “Maru was standing between the trolley and the MRI machine. When the cylinder was brought closer to the MRI machine, it was sucked out of the trolley by the machine’s magnetic force,” said the officer. “As Maru was next to the trolley, he got dragged too.” What is not clear from the police version is how the trolley, if metallic, could have escaped the machine’s magnetic field.
At the time, Dr Lanjekar and Surve were present in the room, the police said.
Police officers told TOI Maru got stuck in the machine with the cylinder over his body. A technician switched off the machine and as relatives and staff pulled Maru out, his left index finger got severed; the cylinder’s nozzle too got loose. The police said Maru inhaled an excessive amount of oxygen that led to his death—corroborated by his post-mortem report. Maru was taken to the hospital’s trauma centre, but efforts to revive him failed, said a police officer. “Laxmi Solanki was not affected in the incident.”
Nair Hospital’s dean Dr Ramesh Bharmal told TOI: “It’s a tragic accident. We have instituted an inquiry to understand what went wrong.” He said the MRI machine was seven years old. “Until it is fixed, our patients will be referred to the BMC-run KEM and Sion hospitals for scans.”
Deputy municipal commissioner (public health) Sunil Dhamne, who will conduct the civic inquiry, told TOI it may take two weeks. The hospital’s CCTV footage will be looked into, he said.
MLA Mangal Prabhat Lodha said chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has agreed to give Rs 5 lakh in compensation to Maru’s family. “Rajesh Maru was the only earning member in his family.”
(Inputs by Richa Pinto & Sujit Mahamulkar)