Metal detectors, MRI could threaten lives of pellet victims: DAK

Days after paramilitary forces admitted to having fired over a million pellets on protesters in Kashmir, a doctors’ body has said that the pellet victims could face life-threatening situation by going through Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) tests or simply passing through metal detectors installed at airports.
Metal detectors, MRI could threaten lives of pellet victims: DAK
A pellet victim at SMHS hopsital. GK photo

Days after paramilitary forces admitted to having fired over a million pellets on protesters in Kashmir, a doctors' body has said that the pellet victims could face life-threatening situation by going through Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) tests or simply passing through metal detectors installed at airports.

Expressing concern, President Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) Dr Nisar ul Hassan in a statement said that MRI scanners and metal detectors could prove fatal in persons with retained pellets. 

"Metal detectors and MRI scanners generate a strong magnetic field as a result of which pellets lodged in body could potential move. This migration is particularly dangerous if pellets are near vital organs like brain or spinal cord," he said.

Studies have revealed that MRI environment is not safe for persons with pellets, he said.

"These pellets are strongly deflected in the magnetic field and several deaths have been reported in patients with pellets who have undergone MRI scanning.

"It is well known that pellets can pose risk to soft tissue and to vascular and neural structures due to movement and heating effects in the MRI environment."

MRI is an essential diagnostic tool used to detect cancer of brain and spinal cord and we can't use it on pellet victims, said Dr Hassan.

"Walk over metal detectors at airports, office buildings, shopping malls, railway stations and courtyards and roadside frisking by handheld metal detectors pose a serious threat to the lives of pellet victims," he said.

"Pellets embedded deep in the body are often untouched as attempts to remove them could cause bleeding or even injuries to vital organs."

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