Holmes Regional Medical Center Sends MRI Out With a (not too loud) ‘Bang’
By Space Coast Daily // June 2, 2021
MRI scanner has served Health First’s Holmes Regional Medical Center and its patients for nearly two decades.
WATCH: Officials at Health First’s Holmes Regional Medical Center officially retired an outpatient MRI scanner today by first “quenching” … or demagnetizing … the machine. The process leads to a powerful release of helium gas from the cryogen bath – ordinarily used to cool the machine internally.
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – A loud bang and massive plume of white gas this morning at Holmes Regional Medical Center could have easily been mistaken for an explosion.
But this was all part of a rather unique … ahem … retirement party of sorts, if you will.
In this case, the “honoree” was an MRI scanner that has served Health First’s Holmes Regional Medical Center and its patients for nearly two decades.
Holmes Regional recently installed and activated a brand new MRI scanner inside the hospital, and today was time to officially decommission an outpatient scanner that resides in an exterior building on campus.
Shutting down an MRI once and for all is not quite as easy as flipping an on-off switch. But pushing one red button does actually start the process of “quenching.” And it has nothing to do with a thirsty machine.
Quenching is the process resulting in sudden loss of absolute zero temperature in the magnet coils – so that they cease to be super-conducting and become resistive. In simple terms, it means the magnet ceases to be … “magnetic.”
This results in helium gas rapidly escaping from the cryogen bath (which ordinarily exists to “cool” the system during use.)
This process, as the attached video shows, is short-lived, but creates a powerful, explosive-like reaction.
There was no danger to surrounding people or facilities, and Holmes Regional officials secured the area in advance. A team from Brevard County Fire Rescue (BCFR) was also on hand for added precautions.