Please note that the images below of the burn Noah sustained are graphic.
On November 22, 2009 we handed Noah off to the MRI staff at Children's Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama for his first MRI since the discovery of a brain tumor. He received sedation before his scan. After he awoke from the sedation, we were questioned about the injury to his arm. The staff quickly realized that he had been somehow burned during his MRI scan. The pictures and posts below describe the event in as much detail as we have been given. Contact us before using any of this information or pictures of his injury.
Walking in Forgiveness; Sunday night, November 22, 2009
I (John) really hesitate to enter this part of the blog, but I need to vent - plead for help - ask for prayer - get advice. This morning, we arrived at 7:30 to the PICU and went in to see Noah before his MRI. The attending nurse was so sweet and helpful. We could tell she doesn’t do her job just to work, but that she really cared for Noah. As the time to take him to the MRI room drew near, she told us we could carry him and she would push his IV equipment and bed. We took the long walk down through hallways and elevators and arrived at the Imaging Center. We said goodbye to Noah as he cried in the arms of the attendants and we entered the waiting room. After several hours they told us we could go back to PICU waiting area as Noah woke up from sedation. While in the PICU waiting room a nurse came to us and asked us, "What happened to his arm? What was the sore from?" We had no knowledge of any sore. Noah's nurse in the PICU was questioned as well and said that he had no sores on him when they passed him off to MRI staff. We had spent time with Noah, examined him, changed him before the MRI and there were no sores on his body. It turns out that somehow from the time we handed him to the MRI staff to the time he went to recovery he received a 2nd to 3rd degree burn on his right arm near his IV. No one knows how it happened - no one knows when it happened - no one is taking responsibility - no one is admitting guilt. I watched a group of medical professionals from every area of medicine group together in a huddle 15 feet away from his bed and discuss it for some time - with no answers. To say I am angry is an understatement. For those of you who know me well, you know I have a temper flaw. My wife is my help mate - with one look from her I had the accountability I needed not to react in my anger but to step back and try to look at the situation outside the anger. This morning before we saw Noah, I found myself very early in the book of Matthew chapters 5 - 7. I was reading the part Jesus spoke on forgiveness and loving your enemies; I didn’t know God was equipping me for the day. I am not saying I am an enemy of any staff member here at the hospital. I know they are doing their best. And I really like our doctors and nurses. But when your kid gets hurt that bad - your flesh (sin nature) wants to put someone’s head through a meat grinder (my brother gave me that quote). Paul wrote - "In Your anger, do not sin." God has given me the strength to keep my mouth shut and my wife has held back tears and frustration like a champion. She is a rock! We know that in all things, God works bad for good - we are waiting to see how this one works out. Please pray for Noah’s safety. The last thing he needs is another something in his body that hurts. Pray for this staff here at the hospital - pray for the equipment they use - pray for Jessica and I to walk, talk, and look like Jesus! As of right now the entire MRI unit at UAB is shut down. GE, the company that made the machine is doing a complete diagnostic. An investigation is being done throughout the hospital. We hope we have an answer to what happened soon. If you have any experience with or know someone who has received a burn injury from an MRI please contact me. *Please realize in your reading and correspondence to us that Noah passed away 5/18/12. This post was written in 2009.
Burn Update, Wednesday night, November 25, 2009:
This morning we were told that Noah's MRI was going to be a lot earlier than two in the afternoon. As the nurses began to prepare him for transport down to the unit, I became very anxious and upset at the answers from the doctors and nurses. They couldn’t guarantee the safety of the chemistry in his IV, they were bringing breathing tools with pieces of aluminum into the procedure–and I (John), being very ignorant about the whole process and the science behind it, became very agitated. The feeling of helplessness and the desire to protect him shifted my emotions into overdrive. I had asked yesterday that the head of the department be there to check the room and Noah. They were not sure he was going to be there. This only fueled my anger. The Chaplin and social worker showed up just at the right time. They helped settle me down and get my emotion under control. I asked everyone to try to see this scenario from a parent’s perspective. My boy is hurting and I want positive assurance he will not get hurt any more. I apologized for reacting in anger. We began another long walk down the hall. When we arrived at the unit, we were met by a man who had the air of importance around him. He introduced himself to us as Dr. Daniel Young - Clinical Professor, Pediatric Radiology Section. He sat us down and asked us our level of education in science and mathematics because he wanted to know where to start with the explanation. As he began to tell the amazing power of the machine we understood how important it is and how much of a GOD send this thing is. Then the reason for the burn came. This is their best guess, and not a 100% sure reason. Sunday's MRI on Noah was an emergency procedure. The anesthesiologist wanted Noah to be warm, so before the procedure he placed a new blanket on him. It was what they call a "space blanket." Cloth on one side, aluminum on the other side. The blanket radiates the body's heat back to itself. It’s a great invention. The blanket is new to the hospital and was not supposed to be in the MRI. The MRI techs have their own blankets they usually use. They did not operate according to protocol and kept the blanket on Noah to keep him warm - not knowing it was unsafe. Inside the MRI, the magnetic field is 20,000 times stronger than the earth’s natural magnetic pull. They think that the electrons of the aluminum were excited and created a current which arced onto Noah's arm and burned him. We are very lucky it was the only place he was burned. We were assured this would never happen again. All of these blankets have been pulled from the shelves. The manufacturer I believe is being contacted and hopefully this hospital will tell every other MRI unit in the world the dangers of the blankets. Because we know it was unintentional, that they had Noah's comfort in mind when they placed it on him to keep him warm, we choose to forgive the techs and all involved. Jesus has taught us to be people of mercy and grace. We are thankful to the staff at GE and the staff at UAB for such a deep investigation. Please forgive those involved along with us and let’s not use this as an opportunity to tarnish an institution that does so much good for so many children. *Please realize in your reading and correspondence to us that Noah passed away 5/18/12. This post was written in 2009.
Final thoughts on the MRI injury, March 16, 2011:
Noah was burned on his arm inside the G.E. 1.5T MRI at Children's Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama on Sunday morning, November 22, 2009. As of March 16, 2011 we have not received a 100% positive answer of why he was burned from the staff at the hospital. We have been told what they "think" happened or their "best guess." That will never be good enough. It has been a long time since I (John) have written about this subject because it is such an intense source of pain for both Jessica and I emotionally.
The staff at Children's admitted to being responsible for a Thermoflect blanket being improperly used during the procedure. The MRI area is kept at a temperature around 65 degrees. Someone put the blanket that is lined with aluminum on top of him to keep him warm. (www.thermoflect.com) This is a press release from the blanket manufacturer concerning Noah's Burn: http://thermoflect.com/press/files/PR-MRenvironment20091224.pdfweeblylink_new_window The hospital staff told us the blanket reacted to the high magnetic field and caused an arc. That arc is what they think burned Noah. I have spoken with several engineers, some who hold multiple doctorates, who say that the laws of physics do not line up with the blanket being responsible. I have spoken with an engineer at the manufacturing company of the blanket. She assured me that the blanket has been used in the MRI environment for many years and has never had one incident like this one reported. It would be a great source of comfort to my wife and I to know an exact answer. What we find most disturbing about a "best guess" answer is that every day the same machine is being used over and over and if the best guess is incorrect, then someone else could be hurt in the same way. Noah had many more MRI's since he was burned. Every time we walk back into that room I have to battle the fear he will come out with another injury. I will more than likely feel this way until someone can give me a specific, 100% accurate reason why he was burned. At one point the Hospital told us the burn may have happened because of a warming blanket draped over him - which is completely absurd and insulting to anyone's intelligence. After we protested, they came back with the Thermoflect blanket story. If you are reading this and could possibly help us know with certainty that this blanket is responsible or not, please contact us. His wound has healed very well, but from time to time he complains of discomfort. He is very young and has been through so much, so he has a very high tolerance for pain. He doesn't complain unless something really bothers him. We have been contacted by many people interested in Noah's story. For those who want to use Noah's story, you must contact us first before using any photograph or quote. *Please realize in your reading and correspondence to us that Noah passed away 5/18/12. This post was written in 2011.