Hats off to Sir Peter Mansfield (1933-2017)

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Sir Peter Mansfield left school with no qualifications to become one of the most eminent scientists in the world of physics. Here, Dr Adrian Thomas pays tribute to the man who lived through World War Two and with dogged determination forged his way in science to become a distinguished and recognised physicist who played a major part in the story of MRI.

 

Sir Peter Mansfield was born on 9 October 1933 in Lambeth in London, and grew up in Camberwell. His mother had worked as a waitress in a Lyons Corner House in the West End of London, and his father first worked as a labourer in the South Metropolitan Gas Company, and then as a gas fitter. Mansfield recounted being sent with other children on a holiday to Kent for disadvantaged London children by the Children’s Country Holiday Fund.

Peter Mansfield was 5 years old when the war broke out in 1939. He remembers standing with his father at the entrance of an air raid shelter watching anti-aircraft shells exploding around German bombers caught in the searchlights. As the Blitz intensified he was evacuated from the dangers of the capital, as were so many other London children. With his brother he was sent to Devon, where he was assigned to Florence and Cecil Rowland who lived in Babbacombe, Torquay. The Rowlands were called Auntie and Uncle, and Mansfield  attended the nearby junior school. Cecil Rowland was a carpenter and joiner by trade, and encouraged Peter to develop his practical skills by giving him a toolbox, and tools were slowly acquired. He obviously obtained some proficiency since with some guidance he made several wooden toys which he was able to sell at an undercover market and a toyshop in Torquay. His life was not without danger even outside London, and in early 1944,whilst out playing, he saw a German twin-engined Fokke-Wulf plane flying at rooftop level. The tail gunner was spraying bullets everywhere, and he rapidly took shelter behind a dry-stone wall.

On his return to London his secondary schooling was at Peckham Central, moving  to the William Penn School in Peckham. Shortly before he left school at 15 he had an interview with a careers adviser. Peter said that he was interested in science, and the adviser responded that since he was unqualified that he should try something less ambitious. He was interested in printing and so took up an apprentice in the Bookbinding Department of Ede and Fisher in Fenchurch Street in the City of London, and whilst there he took evening classes.   Developing an interest in rockets he was offered a position at the Rocket Propulsion Department (RPD) at Westcott, near Aylesbury.

In 1952 he was called up into the Army for his National Service, where he joined the Engineers. The Army allowed him to develop his interest in science. On demobilization he returned to Westcott and completed his A levels. This enabled him to apply for a special honors degree course in physics at Queen Mary College in London. In 1959 he obtained his BSc, and three years later he was awarded his PhD in physics. From 1962 to 1964 he was Research Associate at the Department of Physics at the University of Illinois, and in 1964 was appointed Lecturer at the Department of Physics at the University of Nottingham.

During a sabbatical in Heidelberg in 1972 Mansfield corresponded with his student, Peter Grannell in Nottingham, and became interested in what became MRI, presenting his first paper in 1973 at the First Specialized Colloque Ampère. Mansfield developed a line scanning technique, and this was used to scan the finger of one of one of his early research students, Dr Andrew Maudsley. The scan times required for these finger images varied between 15 and 23 minutes. These were the first images of a live human subject and they were presented to the Medical Research Council, which in 1976 was reviewing the work of various groups including those in Nottingham and Aberdeen.

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In 1977 the team at Nottingham, which included the late Brian Worthington, successfully  produced an image of a wrist. The following year Mansfield presented his first  abdominal image. In 1979 Peter Mansfield was appointed Professor of Physics at the University of Nottingham. As the Nobel Committee emphasized, the importance of the work of Peter Mansfield was that he further developed the utilization of gradients in the magnetic field. Mansfield demonstrated how the signals could be mathematically analyzed, which resulted in the development of  a practical  imaging technique. Mansfield also demonstrated how to achieve extremely fast imaging times by developing echo-planar imaging. This is all very impressive for a boy who left school at 15 with no qualifications.

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Peter Mansfield was awarded many prizes and awards including:

the Gold Medal of the Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (1983); Fellow of the Royal Society (1987); the Silvanus Thompson Medal of the British Institute of Radiology (1988); the International Society of Magnetic Resonance (ISMAR) prize (jointly with Paul Lauterbur)(1992);  Knighthood (1993); Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Radiology and Honorary Member of the British Institute of Radiology (1993);  the Gold Medal of the European Congress of Radiology and the European Association of Radiology (1995);  Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Physics (1997); the Nobel Prize for Medicine together with Paul Lauterbur (2003);   Lifetime Achievement Award presented by Prime Minister Gordon Brown (2009).

His autobiography The Long Road to Stockholm, The Story of MRI was published in 2013. This is an interesting read, particularly in relation to his early years, and is recommended reading for everyone interested in the radiological sciences. This is a revealing account of a remarkable life. Whilst we may discuss the complexities of the development of MRI and exactly who should have received the Nobel Prize, there can be no doubt about his major contributions. MRI has made, and is making major contributions to health care. He died age 83 on 8 February 2017.

The University of Nottingham has set up an online book of condolence http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/news/sir-peter-mansfield/

About Dr Adrian Thomas, Honorary Historian BIR

Dr Thomas was a medical student at University College, London. He was taught medical history by Edwin Clarke, Bill Bynum and Jonathan Miller. In the mid-1980s he was a founding member of what is now the British Society for the History of Radiology. In 1995 he organised the radiology history exhibition for the Röntgen Centenary Congress and edited his first book on radiology history.

He has published extensively on radiology history and has actively promoted radiology history throughout his career. He is currently the Chairman of the International Society for the History of Radiology.

Dr Thomas believes it is important that radiology is represented in the wider medical history community and to that end lectures on radiology history in the Diploma of the History of Medicine of the Society Apothecaries (DHMSA). He is the immediate past-president of the British Society for the History of Medicine, and the UK national representative to the International Society for the History of Medicine.

See more on the history of radiology at http://www.bshr.org.uk

 

 

The role of the radiologist when a baby dies

3-elspeth-whitby-100-x-150As we launch our Fetal MRI portfolio, Dr Elspeth Whitby explains how a research project on MRI in early-life autopsy made her realise what an impact a radiologist can have on bereaved parents.

She found that MRI images can help to create and manage a woman’s feelings during pregnancy and increased her own understanding of her role in the process.

 

End of or start of life

When a baby or infant dies, MRI can be used as a minimally invasive method to replace formal autopsy. Dr Elspeth Whitby explains how, not only does this provide scientific information, but with the interpretive and sensitive communication skills of the radiologist it helps to provide some answers and fill gaps for devastated and grieving parents. Here she talks through the unexpected learning which came out of an innovative and groundbreaking research project.

As part of my work as a consultant radiologist I am involved in a minimally invasive autopsy service where magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is used along with a number of other investigations that can replace the formal autopsy. Over the last 12 months I have embarked on a 30-month interdisciplinary project which aims to explore the use of visual technologies in post-mortem, bringing together researchers, medical practitioners and technology manufacturers to examine how clinical applications of these technologies (such as MRI) are impacting upon professional practice and parental experiences of loss.

1a-memory-box-black-and-whiteThis project, entitled ‘End of or Start of Life?’, developed from my previous work with a medical sociologist (Dr Kate Reed) looking at the value of the fetal MRI image to patients and professionals. A published paper from this original study argues that MRI can both create and manage women’s feelings of uncertainty during pregnancy. While it may not always provide women with unequivocal answers, the detailed information provided by the MRI images combined with the interpretative and communication skills of the radiologist enables women to navigate what can be difficult and emotional issues.

We think this current research on MRI in early-life autopsy will build on the original study about pregnancy and is important for a number of reasons:

  • It will benefit bereaved parents by providing information about potential choices they may have over fetal and infant autopsy;
  • It will raise general public awareness around prenatal and neonatal loss and contribute to reducing the silence and taboo which many parents who experience early life loss experience;
  • It will contribute to the ongoing professional development of pathologists and related professionals through informing professional guidelines and educational materials on visual technology use in autopsy;
  • It will provide information about how parents and other professionals feel about the use of this technology and therefore help to ensure that UK policy on autopsy is developed and applied in a way that is sensitive to practitioners and parents.

Personally my involvement in the work has allowed me to understand the needs of my patients and their families. I have had time to explore areas neglected by medical staff due to time pressures and the lack of insight into the importance of small details. When their baby is going to have a post-mortem, families need to know about what happens, who has contact with their most precious bundle and when. They don’t always need the detail I had assumed they’d want in terms of medical information about the post-mortem process, but rather more seemingly ‘mundane’ details for example: who holds their baby, how they hold them and place them on the scanner table.

Telling a bereaved mother that I was the person who held her baby boy, carried him, dressed and wrapped in a blanket, to the scanner and talked to him as I placed him on the scan table in the required position – as I would any baby in my clinical practice – resulted in tears from his mother and father.  These were followed by a very emotional hug and a comment from mum that she could finally ‘let go’ as I had put her mind at rest that he had been well looked after when she couldn’t be with him during the post-mortem. To them this part of his ‘life’ was a blank space that they could not fill and this left them feeling helpless. Being able to tell them about the process allowed them to fill this space and to understand what had happened. They knew that he had been cared for, and that they had done all they could as his parents.

1a-pm-mriThe most frequent request for information is ‘who will look after my baby when I can’t be there?’ No parent wants to be separated from their baby. I have underestimated the importance of such detail before, assuming that medical information is more important as this is what I have been trained to provide. I am beginning to understand more about parents’ complex needs, and hopefully I now provide an opportunity for all patients and parents I am involved with to obtain this information. The conversations I have with patients have changed from a medically-centred approach to a wider, more social approach. For example I have been able to book longer appointments and build in flexibility so no one feels rushed.

And so, I hope my continued involvement with the social research work can widen my understanding further and hopefully improve the services we provide. For instance, being part of this research has helped to inform my involvement in the production of a video that talks parents through the MRI post-mortem process which they can watch whenever, if ever, it suits them.

If you are interested in this topic, you may be interested in learning more. Take a look at the new BIR Fetal MRI Portfolio

References

Visualising uncertainty: Examining women’s views on the role of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) in late pregnancy


Dr Elspeth Whitby

Dr Elspeth Whitby is a senior lecturer at the University of Sheffield and an honorary consultant at Sheffield teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation trust.

Her clinical and research interests are based around MR Imaging of the fetus and neonate. She provides a national service for Fetal MRI and is an integral part of the team at Sheffield Children’s hospital, which has set up the world’s first clinical service for minimally invasive autopsy for the fetal and neonatal age group. Her research provides the necessary data to assess the value of new MRI techniques and then to support the transitions from research to service. The multidisciplinary nature of her more recent work is changing her as well as influencing clinical practice.

She is currently Vice President for Education at the BIR, helping to improve the educational scope and methods of delivery of educational events for all BIR members.

Dr Whitby was the recipient of the first BIR/Bayer Make it Better Award for her work in minimal fetal and neonatal invasive autopsy.

 

Discover the impact of X-rays on modern medicine

Adrian Thomas

Dr Adrian Thomas

As we commemorate International Day of Radiology and World Radiography Day on 8th November 2016, Dr Adrian Thomas, BIR’s Honorary Historian gives an overview of the history of radiology and encourages anyone interested in the history of medicine to dip in to the BIR’s history of radiology web pages.

It is very difficult to put oneself into the position of someone living in the 19th century prior to the discovery of X-rays (in 1895) and radioactivity (in 1896). The early scientists had a certainty and confidence that is alien to our contemporary worldview. In science there was a feeling that everything important had basically been worked out, and that there would be no major surprises around the corner. Chemistry and physics were pretty much understood, and with some justification since the scientific achievements of the 19th century were astonishing. For example the laying of the cable across the Atlantic Ocean in 1858 was a remarkable accomplishment by any standards.

All was to change with the discoveries of 1895 and 1896. Neither X-rays nor radioactivity could be explained by contemporary physical models, The X-rays should have been predicted since it was already known that the spectrum extended invisibly beyond the infra red and ultra violet.

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The invisible rays discovered by Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen produced a sensation in both the scientific community and the general public. The sense of amazement was so great that the public needed reassurance that this was a proper discovery by a serious scientist.

There was an immediate interest by the medical community, and The X-Ray Society was founded which was the first in the world. This became the Röntgen Society and finally the British Institute of Radiology. A society needs a journal, and this has gone by many names over the years, such as Archives of Skiagraphy, Archives of the Roentgen Ray, Journal of the Röntgen Society, and currently the British Journal of Radiology. This journal is a treasure, and is a major world journal with publications by many of the major figures associated with radiology. Perhaps the main change in the journal over the years is that it is now focused on human applications of the radiological sciences. In the early years there were articles on all aspects of radiology, including radiography of paintings, X-ray astronomy, and animal radiography.

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X-ray 1897: Hand radiograph of Sebastian Gilbert Scott

The story since the 1890s can be divided into three periods. Firstly the time of the pioneers when knowledge was still very limited. The second period is that of classical radiology. This was the period of often quite invasive diagnostic tests and abnormalities were often shown indirectly, for example by the displacement of normal structures. There was an increasing knowledge of the response of tissues to radiation, with the development of a scientific approach to treatments.

The modern or third period is from the 1970s, which may be seen as a “golden decade” of radiology, and was ushered in by the CT or EMI scanner,the forerunners of our digital world. It is difficult to underestimate the role of the CT scanner, and it had profound effects on diagnosis and treatment planning.

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First image scanned on the prototype EMI scanner at Atkinson Morley’s Hospital 1971

Since the 1970s radiology has changed beyond recognition in all areas. For example not only has wet film processing disappeared but also film itself has passed away.

The BIR and its journals have been at the forefront of the advances in the radiological sciences. We have a treasure with publications by the greats in radiology, such as Peter Kerley, Ralston Patterson, Ian Donald, James Ambrose and Godfrey Hounsfield.

It is fascinating to read the words of those who came before us, and to consider the remarkable achievements in the last 120 years. I think you will find exploring our archives well worth your time.

 

 

Visit the BIR history website pages here

Visit the BJR archives here

Presidential Blog #1

2_4Well I’ve now been BIR President for nearly 6 days and it still feels slightly surreal. I have to say that taking over from David Wilson as President and having Jacqueline Fowler’s experienced hand to guide me makes me feel what could possibly go wrong!

Seriously, it is important that I focus my efforts in certain areas, notwithstanding our rolling three year strategy. These areas are crucial to the continuing upward rise of the BIR and those areas are: increasing membership, especially amongst radiographers; getting more members actively engaged in the great work we do (everyone’s time for volunteering is reduced in these days of increasing clinical workloads, and more hands enables the BIR to undertake more exciting projects) and, maybe most obviously as the new President, reaching out to both our sister organisations (to form effective collaborations to lever the most from policy makers and funders), and to BIR’s corporate partners (an integral part of the BIR ‘family’) to ensure both sides gain from the relationship and to ensure they are active participants. I also wish to reach out to similar organisations across the world to grow our international membership and, with various BIR staff, have many interesting meetings coming up at RSNA in Chicago later this year.

2_13.jpgIt’s clearly way too early to tell how successful I’ll be in my aims, but I intend to hold early discussions with all our closest allies as soon as possible and look forward to doing the same with our corporate partners – in fact this week I am visiting the factory of Midland Lead who have sponsored a PPE publication with associated poster and video material (launched at the IRMER update event, watch out on the website for more details)  – an example of an excellent project, well led by Peter Hiles and friends with excellent support from one of our newest corporate partners – thank you to all involved.

Andy Rogers

BIR President

Andy Rogers is Head of Radiation Physics, Nottingham University Hospitals

 

Reflections on two years at the helm of the BIR

David Wilson

Dr David Wilson reflects on the progress and achievements as President of the British Institute of Radiology.

As I come towards the end my two years as President of the BIR, writing for the BIR blog gives me the opportunity to review what has happened to our Institute during that period.

David Wilson and Stephen Davies 14.10.2015

My predecessors, Dr Stephen Davies and Professor Andrew Jones, had worked very hard to prepare what I now see was very fertile ground.

With the senior administrative team and Chief Executive, Jacqueline Fowler, not only had they resolved the problems of a building that was no longer fit for purpose and was a drain on the organisation’s resources, but they had set up new offices, a streamlined administrative system and a new team who were working very effectively together.

 

DW pp badge to AJ

Special interest groups had been established and it was recognised that as an organisation we needed to move out into the different regions. The sale of the building and careful financial management meant that we had the resources to start these and other projects.

Over the last two years we have developed and opened regional groups in the Midlands, and the south-west of England. These have been met with great enthusiasm by local imaging professionals and are now developing a drive of their own which we can use to create new regional groups over the next few years.

Investment in educational technology with the appointment of e-learning technologists has allowed us to start what is a very successful series of webinars with a steady increase in members connecting online. This project will continue and I can see many opportunities for educational development in the future. The BIR continues to invest not only in electronic education but also in delegate-attended courses. The BIR Annual Congress has undergone modernisation, with a new format of parallel streams, e-posters and an event app to increase delegate engagement. It also boasts internationally acclaimed keynote speakers. The annual general meeting (AGM) is now an online meeting and has proved very successful.

The education committee is to be congratulated on the expansion and success of the teaching and learning opportunities that we provide. We were concerned that the standards of education are hard to define and therefore we set up an independent accreditation committee whose duty it is to assess all the teaching that we provide against recognised educational standards. This team led by David Lindsell provides assurance that our courses and electronic learning are of the highest standard and they are also working with corporate members to assess other organisations’ events. Our collaborative work with UK Radiology Congress has led to very successful meetings in Liverpool and I’m glad to say that both UKRC and UKRO are flourishing.

 

ARRS agreementWe have expanded our breadth of corporate members and reached out to other societies in the UK and overseas including the Royal Society of Medicine, IPEM and the Institute of Physics as well as becoming a member of the American Roentgen Ray Society (ARRS) Global Partner Program which has extended benefits on offer to our members.

rsna DW and Guiseppe BJRCR

The BIR will only flourish if membership increases and we remain active and innovative. I’m glad to say that the membership numbers have increased substantially over the last two years and continue to do so. We have created new packages of membership and several healthcare organisations have now joined on behalf of large groups of their employees. I believe this is an excellent measure of our success in providing valued membership benefits. The great news from our publishing arm is the establishment of a case report-based online journal, BJR|case reports. This fills a gap in the market  and gives an opportunity for young clinicians and scientists to present their work. The standards offered by BJR have been maintained and indeed improved as judged by external measures.

The management team and the trustees of the organisation continue to provide sterling service and governance. We remain in a strong financial position despite external pressures.

President Elect 2015 Andy Rogers and David WilsonI’m honoured to have been the warden to an excellent provision of service within an organisation that is increasing in size and has very exciting prospects for the future. I am very pleased to be handing over to Andy Rogers with whom I worked for a number of years and I know will be an excellent President of the British Institute of Radiology.

Dr David Wilson

Images (top to bottom)

  1. With Dr Stephen Davies
  2. At my inauguration with my predecessor Professor Andrew Jones
  3. With Jonathan Lewin MD, President of ARRS
  4. With Editor of BJR|case reports, Professor Giuseppe Guglielmi
  5. With Andy Rogers, President of the BIR from September 2016

 

Waiting cancer patients soothed by digital art

HughTurvey_3_VL Hugh Turvey Hon FRPS FRSA, permanent artist in residence at the BIR and a pioneering creative practitioner for better healthcare environments explains how an absorbing programme of digital screen-based art is providing a welcome diversion for patients and their carers as they wait for treatment at Cheltenham Oncology Centre.

“Little as we know about the way in which we are affected by form, colour and light, we do know this: that they have an actual physical effect. Variety of form and brilliancy of colour in the objects presented to patients are actual means of recovery.” Florence Nightingale, 1860.

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Florence Nightingale was ahead of her time in realising that our environment has a physical affect on us all. Not least those who have to wait in hospital waiting areas. For patients and their carers in oncology departments up and down the country, it’s all about the waiting: waiting for consultations, waiting between treatments, waiting for their results. The nature of cancer treatment means they often have to return, time after time, over days, weeks, even months, to wait — anxious, conspicuous, unwell, often in barren, clinical, institutionalised spaces — for hours on end.

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In Cheltenham Oncology Centre, they are modelling a more positive form of waiting through an arts programme that provides service users with an absorbing rotation of art and photography digitally displayed on giant screens on the walls as well as a range of art activities for waiting patients and staff.

The latest development in the project has seen six, large, state-of-the-art digital screens installed in each of the waiting areas across the department. Funded by the Centre’s charity FOCUS (Fund for Oncology Centre Users and Supporters), the pilot is being run in partnership with specialist digital media company OOHSCREEN.

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As a photographic artist himself, Hugh has been convinced of the benefits of digital screen technology for displaying art for some time and together with co-director Lisa Moore has developed an innovative system that enables the creation of a rolling programme of remotely curated screen-based art exhibitions. The pilot project in Cheltenham Oncology Centre has already broken the cycle of dreary daytime TV with initial exhibitions that include the Royal Photographic Society’s extraordinary International Images for Science exhibition and digital images of some of the best art being made locally through arts association Cheltenham Open Studios.

Speaking about the project, Niki Whitfield, Arts Co-ordinator for Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust, said, “We understand that people would rather be anywhere else than here, so through the creation of an art-enhanced environment and a rolling programme of drop-in creative workshops we are working towards making the experience more bearable”.

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Another advantage of the technology is that it also enables information and notices — from clinic times to third-party groups providing support for cancer patients and their families — to be put on the screen. This means service users can be targeted with information relevant to them. Lisa Moore, who is a specialist in digital messaging in healthcare environments, explains, “What screen-based exhibitions offer are an additional level of engagement, enabling us to also educate and inform through tailored messaging for each setting. And because the technology is updatable, the content remains current”. She continues, “NHS service users are often bombarded with information — in the form of signs, posters, leaflets, notices — all competing for their attention. It can be so overwhelming, they often don’t engage with any of it. This offers a platform that enables us to ensure that the most important messages get seen, while creating a more relaxing environment by the removal of much of the “visual noise” from the walls”.

The hope is, going forward, that the screen project will become self-financing. With over 100,000 people per year passing through the doors of the Cheltenham Oncology Centre alone, it makes the proposition of sponsorship extremely attractive for third-party service providers. As Niki Whitfield says, “By transferring key information from pop-ups, posters and leaflets onto the screens, we not only ensure more people get access to the resources and support they need, but our partners save on the production costs of these kinds of materials”.

The benefits of art in healthcare settings for patient wellbeing are well documented. In 2011, the British Medical Association published a report on “The psychological and social needs of patients” which found that:

Creating a therapeutic healthcare environment extends beyond the elimination of boredom. Arts and humanities programmes have been shown to have a positive effect on inpatients. The measured improvements include:

  • inducing positive physiological and psychological changes in clinical outcomes
  • reducing drug consumption
  • shortening length of hospital stay
  • promoting better doctor–patient relationships
  • improving mental healthcare

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Initial feedback on this programme from staff and patients is that it has helped create a calming more relaxed atmosphere. As Dr Samir Guglani, Consultant Clinical Oncologist, puts it, “For staff and patients, briefly to be looking at the same creative works together — rather than just scans or results — in the same shared space; this is powerful, engaging and ultimately culture changing”.

A more rigorous evaluation is planned to assess the impact of the screens, with a view to expanding the scope of the screens across this and other trusts across the UK.

OOHSCREEN is co-founded by Hugh Turvey Hon FRPS FRSA, permanent artist in residence at the BIR and Lisa Moore. http://www.oohscreen.com +44 20 9411 5870

Further reading

Arts and health research literature up to 2010: http://www.publicartonline.org.uk/resources/research/artsandhealthmarch2010.php

A prospectus for arts and health (20 April 2007), Department of Health and Arts Council England: http://www.paintingsinhospitals.org.uk/evidence/research

About Hugh Turvey

Hugh Turvey is an artist with an international reputation. His Xogram work is held in public and private collections throughout the world. Bridging the gap between art and science, graphic design and pure photography, it has been utilised in myriad applications, including, commercially, for marketing and advertising, in TV and film and by architects and interior designers.

Along with developing a body of work for the Science Photo Library, Hugh Turvey has collaborated on an ebook and iPad app called ‘X is for X-ray’. His Xogram work has also been widely featured in newspaper articles and magazines around the world.

Among his commercial projects, he has made six award-winning TV adverts, using ground breaking Motion X-Ray. He has worked with Waitrose UK on celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal’s ranges has had images commissioned by L’Oreal, Paris.

MRI safety: Putting staff and patients first

 

Darren Hudson

 

Darren Hudson

 

To mark MRI Safety week (25 – 31 July), Darren Hudson, MRI Clinical Lead at InHealth highlights his top tips for making the MRI environment safe for both patients and staff.

He also explains how InHealth are ensuring their multidisciplinary teams get timely reminders about MRI best practice.

 

 

 

 

MRI Safety week marks the 15th anniversary of a terrible accident.  Six-year old Michael Colombini was killed by a portable oxygen cylinder when it was inadvertently brought into the MR scan room of Westchester Hospital, in America. This tragedy sparked important discussions in the US around safety in MR. In the UK, the MHRA produced their first guidance in 1993  [1][2] produced around the requirements and training needed to safely operate MR scanning facilities. This was last updated in 2015.

What’s the danger?

The static magnetic field in which MRI staff work is over 30,000 times stronger than the earth’s own magnetic field. It is always on, 24/7, regardless of whether scanning is being performed.

MRI safety imageThe greatest impact this can have is a missile effect on ferromagnetic items which may be
taken into the MRI scan room, causing them to be accelerated at very high speed towards the centre of the scanner. Depending on the nature and size of the object, whether it’s an earring or a wheelchair, the consequences can be very dangerous, and at worst catastrophic.

InHealth safety

InHealth logo

To mark the week InHealth are sending out some daily reminders to staff covering specific MR safety topics to help serve as a refresher around some keys aspects of MR safety and to raise awareness of good practice.

Key themes covered are object management and labelling, positioning of patients to prevent burns, communication with patients to ensure they alert staff to any discomfort or concerns, keeping patients cool, protecting patients from noise,  best practice on how to get feedback from patients and making sure all medical devices and implants are regularly checked for safety in accordance with guidelines.

As corporate members to the BIR we are working together to raise awareness of, and share support for MR safety within the wider imaging community.

Radiographers and clinical support staff play a key role in implementing the safety framework established across MRI services, with their knowledge and experience of the procedures and policies in place helping to ensure we maintain the safety of patients, visitors and staff.

Importantly, it has been shown that the most significant MR accidents are as a result of a cascade effect from a number of apparent minor breaches of safety procedures rather than from a single mistake. It is therefore essential we all remain vigilant and adhere accurately to the safety policies and procedures. Any potential breach of procedure or near-miss is a warning and as such these instances should be reported to ensure lessons can be learnt and acted upon to avoid more serious untoward events.

Reporting

Reporting of incidents and near misses is vital so that we can anticipate and prempt problems that may be arise so they can be addressed before more serious incidents may occur – today it may only be some coins, tomorrow it could be something more serious!

The human factor

Our fallibilities as human beings, both as staff and our patients, can adversely impact on MRI safety. To help promote MR safety InHealth staff are encouraged to undertake e-learning modules to highlight the hazards in MRI.

By working together and maintaining a cycle of safety procedures we can ensure that the MRI room is the safest environment it can be for both patients and staff.

[1]  Safety Guidelines for Magnetic Resonance Imaging Equipment in Clinical Use

[2]   ACR Guidance Document on MR Safe Practices: 2013

InHealth logo

https://www.inhealthgroup.com/