Westchester Medical Center (WMC of Valhalla, N.Y.) publicly released the results of its internal investigation into the causes of a July 27 incident where an oxygen cylinder was magnetically drawn into an MRI scanner, resulting in the death of a six-year-old patient as he was prepared for an MRI examination.

WMC President and CEO Edward A. Stolzenberg said in the Aug. 21 announcement that an “accident of this kind could have happened at any hospital or radiology facility in the U.S. and could still happen even today. We are working tirelessly to prevent this tragedy from happening anywhere, ever again.”

The review does not fix blame on any individual, although there are discrepancies between the statement given by the anesthesiologist who was treating Michael Colombini, a nurse who said she handed the anesthesiologist the fatal 6.5 pound E cylinder in the hallway outside of the MRI suite, and a passing healthcare worker who said she witnessed the anesthesiologist carry the cylinder into the magnet room.

Sheppard Cites MRI Safety
Marvin Shepherd, noted biomedical engineering safety consultant and President of DEVTEQ (Walnut Creek, Calif.) was asked by 24×7 to comment on the information released by Westchester Medical Center and on MRI safety in general.

“I have a great sympathy for the health care professionals as well as the patient in this tragic event,” said Shepherd. “Kudos to the CEO and others for the quick response to take ownership and initiate corrective actions.”

Regarding med-gas options, Shepherd said, “It is certainly important to assure that MRI compatible tanks are used if the tanks are to be brought into the MRI room. However, a permanent system, similar to what they had installed (but with improved design) is the better alternative. There would be no need for portable tanks and personnel would never have to remember if the tanks are compatible. In addition, these tanks, like the piped systems in surgery, would be managed by facility engineering and would assure that the tanks would be full when needed.”

You Gotta Love It!

d01a.jpg (6296 bytes)Rah! Rah! Sis, Boom, Ouch!

They may not be on the starting team. Maybe not even second stringers. Heck, they’re not even water boys. But researchers at Johns Hopkins University announced that professional athletic team mascots suffer an alarming number of injuries and illnesses in the line of duty.

The study found that heat-related illness is the most common health problem affecting the costumed rabble rousers. Among 48 mascots for professional baseball, basketball and football teams across the country responding to mailed questionnaires, 28 (or 58 percent) reported experiencing heat illness at one time, with half requiring intravenous fluids, and one that needed hospitalization.

Librarians’ Index to the Internet

imageWhile currently a denizen of cyberspace, our Web Worm passed earlier days in the library as the Book Worm. During hours between the stacks, the knowledge-hungry slimer carefully honed research skills, and after a few hundred “HTTP Error 404” messages, longed to return to Dewey decimal land.

Until he surfed across the Librarians’ Index to the Internet (www.lii.org). It’s a search engine on steroids. All that known and loved library reference information at our hero’s fingerless-tips, without a pesky librarian going “Sssssh!”

imageThe LII began in 1990 as reference librarian Carole Leita’s Gopher bookmark file. It migrated to the Berkeley Public Library’s Web server in 1993, and to the University of North Carolina’s Digital Library SunSITE in late 1996, where it gained a search engine (SWISH-Enhanced), subject index and a system that allowed other librarians to add entries.

An example of LII’s power: predicting the Spring thaw is the worm-equivalent of Vegas. LII’s links to online almanacs gave our Perky Peat-Packer a 3:1 advantage over Webless bettors. Other LII topics include world cultures, geography, language and on and on and on.

The site is not fancy or pretty. It is incredibly useful, and that’s why it’s on this discerning Worm’s favorites list.


CDC declares safety goals for healthcare
The Centers for Disease Control issued “Seven Healthcare Safety Challenges,” a quality promotion program identifying areas where threats to patients and healthcare workers can be reduced.

The activity is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Federal Patient Safety Task Force, which was outlined during Healthtech 2001 last April by Margaret A. Keyes of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety.

Pepper Seasons DI Services
PSS World Medical Inc. (Jacksonville, Fla.) named Joseph W. Pepper as president of Diagnostic Imaging Inc.’s (Jacksonville) imaging unit in June. Pepper succeeds Kirk A. Zambetti, who left DI earlier this year after serving as president of DI since April 1998.

Pepper served as president and CEO of the former OEC Medical Systems Inc., which was acquired by GE Medical Systems in November 1999. He served as president and general manager of OEC after the acquisition, but left in October 2000 to pursue other opportunities. Pepper also spent 15 years with The BOC Group plc, where he served as president of Ohmeda Medical Devices (Liberty Corner, N.J.).

Philips Medical Completes HQ Move
Philips Medical Systems North America closed its Connecticut headquarters and is officially operating out of Bothell, Wash., site of the company’s ATL Ultrasound campus.

“Right now we consider our move completed,” Jack Price, president and CEO of the newly designated Philips Medical Systems North America Sales and Service Region, told 24×7 on Aug. 8.

The few people remaining in Connecticut are completing an information technology (IT) project for the company’s service organization.

Price stated that about 80 of the company’s 360-plus employees made the move to the Northwest.

d01c.jpg (8340 bytes)Workers Cheer Mobile X-ray Icon
The 12,000th AMX mobile X-ray system rolled out of the GE Medical Systems assembly plant in Waukesha, Wis. on July 26 and the company threw a party to celebrate.

Battery-powered AMX radiographic systems have been in production since 1987 and are sold world-wide. Dan Kerpelman, general manager of diagnostic X-ray at GE Medical Systems said, “We have sold more AMX units than any other X-ray system.” GE builds more than 750 companion AMX units a year at its Waukesha headquarters.

Number 12,000 is the latest variation, the AMX-4+. It was delivered to Elmbrook Memorial Hospital in Brookfield, Wis.

MCSE faulted for lax security
The Code Red computer virus attacks Microsoft’s Internet Information Services (IIS) running on Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000 operating systems. The U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) estimates it has cost businesses and government agencies over $2.4 billion. Much of that could have been avoided if the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer program contained adequate security training, according to the System Administration, Networking, and Security (SANS) Institute, based in Bethesda, Md.

Richardson gets GSA nod
Richardson Electronic’s Display Systems Group (LaFox, Ill.) was awarded a contract by the U.S. General Services Administration that makes Richardson’s diagnostic imaging display products number GS-35F-0501L on Federal Supply Schedule 70.

Federal Supply Schedules are standing contracts granted after the GSA certifies a supplier’s scheduled prices are fair and reasonable. U.S. government agencies can buy scheduled products without further bidding or review. This now includes items marketed by Richardson’s Display Systems Group, including high resolution monitors and graphic controller cards manufactured by Barco, Clinton Electronics, Dome, Image Systems, Philips Fimi and Siemens Display Technologies.

To purchase the full text of Browser articles, click here…