The medical imaging community is buzzing over the GE MRI recall—by now, no other words are needed to name it—and the chatter will probably continue for a long time to come.
People are shaken, and for good reason. The recall is massive. It affects scanners built as far back as 1985. And it’s a literal matter of life-threatening injuries or even death, to paraphrase the FDA recall notice.
How could this have happened?
ImagingBiz and several of our sister outlets under the TriMed Media umbrella will be looking into that question, among others, over the coming days if not weeks or even months.
Until answers emerge, people might be forgiven for speculating. Right now it doesn’t seem unreasonable to wonder if the FDA and GE may have been acting out of an abundance of caution as opposed to an expectation of immanent disaster.
After all, the FDA notice pointed not to a manufacturing problem but, apparently, point-of-use human error. This followed GE’s urgent letter to customers, sent a few weeks prior to the recall, telling how to test for susceptibility.
And, in disclosing the concern to the public, GE said it had found that “some MR systems in India have been modified by service personnel or by equipment users to disable the Magnet Rundown Unit.”
Whatever incidents led to the recall, here’s hoping they were isolated. Here’s hoping the issue is quickly and thoroughly resolved, and that there will be no further causes for concern.
And here’s predicting that—like Bill Belichick boning up on proper football inflation at the height of Deflategate—medical imaging professionals around the world and in every corner of the industry are going to be very well versed in the proper care and handling of Magnet Rundown Units, aka MRUs.