When a 5-foot, 275-pound woman found out she had a tumor on her spine, she was told by her local hospital to go the zoo to have a MRI because a regular MRI machine could not hold her weight, MyFOXKC.com reported.
Carolyn Ragan told the television station she discovered the tumor two years ago and, after the hospital told her she could not use their MRI machine, a medical assistant said he would help her find a solution.
“So he suggested the Kansas City Zoo,” Ragan said. “I thought, I know I’m big, but I’m not as big as an elephant. And my husband got mad.”
The University of Kansas Hospital would not comment on Ragan’s claim, but said its MRI department does not know of any animal MRI in the Kansas City area that would scan a human.
Ragan’s problem was two-fold: She was too heavy for the table and too wide to slide through the opening.
Medical Imaging in Kansas City North, which has both closed and open MRI machines can typically hold up to 440 pounds, but sometimes a person who weighs less can still be out of luck, according to an MRI technician.
“It depends on how they are built a lot of times and what part of their body we’re scanning,” said technician Sarah Abbott of Medical Imaging. “(The machine) can only be so open before the magnetic field dissipates into the room.”
Ragan, who ended up having two surgeries and some paralysis, said she finally found an open MRI machine that held her weight, but it was embarrassing and frustrating.
“They should have machines that fit most everybody,” she said.