"Feedback on MRI experience"

About: William Harvey Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics

(as the patient),

A fortnight ago I attended William Harvey Hospital for a MRI scan of my lower back. I had previously contacted the department to tell them I suffered from claustrophobia and was told this was not a problem as I could be put in the scanner feet first and my head could remain outside. I also looked at the video on their website to familiarise myself with the equipment and what to expect.

However, on arrival I learned that the scan would take place in a mobile scanner. This was different from what was shown in the video. Although I went in the machine feet first, my head was inside. My daughter was not allowed to remain in the control room for the scan and had to wait outside the trailer. At the beginning I was asked if I could hear the radiographer through the headphones and replied that I could. After that I heard nothing more: no-one spoke to me to tell me how it was going and there was no music. All I could hear was more or less constant loud tapping and banging sounds. I only knew it was finished when the noise stopped and then the operator pressed the switch for me to slide out.

I found this a horrible experience which I would not like to repeat. I think the procedures should be reviewed so that those who have a problem with confined spaces should not be sent to the mobile scanning unit and it should be explained to those who go there how the experience will be different from what they may be expecting.

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Responses

Response from Sally Smith, Chief Nurse and Director Of Quality, East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you so much for your posting. I am so sorry to hear about this experience, it sounds very frightening. I will make sure that your feedback is given to the MRI team for them to make sure they address these issues.

Apologies once again, and thank you for letting us know.

Best regards

Sally

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Response from Sally Smith, Chief Nurse and Director Of Quality, East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust

I have just heard back from the Division and here is the action they are taking following your very helpful feedback:

The team are going to speak with the booking team so that if a patient says they are claustrophobic we can then book them on one of the static scanners rather than the mobile units. Although the K&CH and QEQM statics are the same bore size as the mobile units we accept that the patient perception is that they are more enclosed - and that you cannot have a friend to accompany you during the scan. The WHH scanners are both wide bore so these would be the preferred site for severe claustrophobic people. The team are going to let the manager know when this has been communicated to the MRI booking teams.

I hope this assures you.

Thanks again,

Sally

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Update posted by Fannyanne (the patient)

Dear Sally, Thank you for your response to my comments. I think it will be helpful for people who are claustrophobic not to be placed in the mobile units, also because music is not available and the machine makes loud noises, although I am still unclear why no-one spoke to me during the scan to explain what was happening.