Looooooong Overdue…

Those who know me know that I’m an upbeat person. Not the spring-out-of-be-fifteen-minutes-before-the-alarm-“so-happy-to-greet-the-morning” type of upbeat, but more of an indefatigable cautious-optimism. Yes, there are bad days… days when I’d just prefer to pull the covers over my head to wait to see if next week Thursday offers enough to coax me out of bed. But I’m of the firm belief that – on those days – you have to drag your sorry butt out of bed and put one foot in front of the other, if for no other reason than you might forget how if you skip a day. Someday, no matter how distant or unlikely, you will meet your goal.

Guess what? Today is one of my somedays! Or, I should say, today promises to be one of my somedays (there’s the cautious vein running through my optimism).

Today the FDA announced that they are hosting a public workshop on MRI Safety! Faced with staggering growth in MRI accidents and a diaspora of state, accreditation, professional and regulation organizations (who either can’t or won’t acknowledge the role that they each could have played in preventing the dramatic increase in accidents), the FDA is assembling a public workshop not unlike the one that fostered unprecedented cooperation among industry, providers and regulatory bodies to address ionizing radiation exposure concerns in ionizing medical imaging.

Like the ionizing predecessor, the challenge for the MRI safety workshop will be twofold… first, getting stakeholders (who disavow being stakeholders with a responsibility) to work together will be like herding cats. Fortunately, there are a few of us crazies [ahem] zealots, er enthusiasts who won’t forsake this opportunity and will help marshal the kitten rodeo. Second, and more critical, will be the commitment to actually doing something!

“Try harder” or “Improve tech education” or “Develop a policy” have all been tried to death! The ‘we promise we’ll do better in the future’ line, without specific, measurable criteria, has been the staple of MRI safety improvement efforts over the course of time in which we’ve seen the rates of MRI accidents grow to five times what they were just a few years ago. The promise to ‘do better’ is wholly inadequate. The promise to ‘measure up’ to an explicit standard is what we need.

2009 MRI Accident Reports 482% of 2004

Alarming Growth In MRI Accidents

This planned meeting – or more specifically, the progress that it represents – is long overdue, as is this contribution to this forum.

If you would like to participate in this upcoming FDA meeting, scheduled for October 25th – 26th, 2011, please sign up soon on the FDA’s registration website, here.

I hope to see you in DC, herding cats and agitating for standards for the safety of MRI patients and staff!

Tobias Gilk,
President & MRI Safety Director — Mednovus, Inc.
Sr. Vice President — RAD-Planning.com

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