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The following excerpt is from the document entitled Microchip Implants: Technological Solution or 21st Century Nightmare?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Incompatibility with Microchip Implant Technology

The FDA lists “MRI incompatibility” as another potential health risk associated with microchip implants and says that certain tests should be performed in order to demonstrate MRI compatibility. The FDA also says it is important to “address the EMC [Electromagnetic Compatibility] concerns for implant exposure to the significant magnetic and radiofrequency emissions from MRI, including concerns for implant malfunction or damage from MRI exposure and the use of the scanner during MRI procedures.” (1)

According to the FDA’s “A Primer on Medical Device Interactions with Magnetic Resonance Imaging Systems,” potential adverse effects associated with implant devices in the MRI environment include, but are not limited to: “device malfunction or failure,” “tearing of tissues,” “rotation of object in order to align with field,” “acceleration of object into bore of magnet 'missile effect,'” and “patient burns (thermal and electrical).” (2)

The FDA document also says:

 

“Since the likelihood of being recommended for an MR procedure in one’s lifetime is increasing, so are the concerns of potential adverse interactions with implanted devices. Therefore, it is important that manufacturers of implanted devices identify and address any potential adverse effects the implant patient may experience as a result of entering high magnetic field strength areas or undergoing an MR scan. This information should be provided in the device labeling and associated materials regardless of the intent to make MR safety or compatibility related claims. The purpose of this is to inform the clinician and patient of potential concerns with undergoing MR scanning post implant.” (3)

 


In spite of the aforementioned concerns and recommendations by the FDA, VeriChip Corporation provides contradictory information regarding the compatibility of microchip implants and MRI machines. In its list of frequently asked questions, VeriChip’s complete answer to a question regarding microchip-MRI compatibility is, “Yes, patients with the VeriChip microchip may safely undergo MRI diagnostics.” (4) However, another document by VeriChip lists serious restrictions for microchipped patients who require MRI diagnostics. Written in extra-fine print, the instructions for patients undergoing MRI state:

“The patient should be monitored continuously throughout the MRI procedure using visual and audio means (e.g., intercom system).

 

Instruct the patient to alert the MR system operator of any unusual sensations or problems so that, if necessary, the MR system operator can immediately terminate the procedure.

 

Provide the patient with a means to alert the MR system operator of any unusual sensations or problems.

 

Do not perform MRI if the patient is sedated, anesthetized, confused or otherwise unable to communicate with the MR system operator.” (5)

 


The restrictions placed upon a microchip implantee who requires potentially life-saving MRI diagnostics are shocking. Although the chip is advertised as “facilitating appropriate treatment with less delay,” (6) VeriChip’s document indicates that because of the microchip implant, a patient may be denied the right to undergo MRI safely and promptly. (7) It is important, therefore, that medical personnel and patients are informed of the potential problems associated with microchip-MRI compatibility. It is also important to determine what should be done for a microchipped patient who needs MRI diagnostics, particularly if a patient is “sedated, anesthetized, confused or otherwise unable to communicate with the MR system operator.” (8)

Questions that remain unanswered regarding microchip-MRI compatibility include: Does the microchipped patient forgo MRI diagnostics? Does the patient have surgery to remove the microchip implant? Or does the patient undergo MRI and take the chance that the implant does not malfunction or cause any injuries? Also, if a patient decides to have the chip surgically removed, is a new chip inserted after the MRI procedure is done, and thereafter removed and re-inserted every time MRI is necessary?

In an attempt to promote its microchip implant, VeriChip Corporation highlights – in large, bold text – what it considers “inefficiencies” and “problems” associated with other current ways to obtain a patient’s medical identification. For example, it says a MedicAlert bracelet can be removed from a patient, contains minimal medical information, and is not linked to a hospital database. (9) However, VeriChip fails to alert the public to the potential problems associated with a microchip implant, insertion device, scanning device, and medical database. Potential problems include but are not limited to: failure and migration of an implanted microchip, adverse tissue reactions, cancerous growths, loss of the device from or within the body, inability to read the implant swiftly and accurately, cloning the microchip, infecting the microchip or scanner with a virus or worm, and hacking into the database. VeriChip also fails to mention that potential microchip-MRI incompatibility may oblige a patient to forgo MRI diagnostics. Then again, the company fails to mention that a MedicAlert bracelet does not pose all of these problems.

VeriChip also lists health information wallet cards as an inefficient or problematic form of medical identification. One of the reasons given is, “Difficult for hospital staff to locate.” (10) Either the company believes medical personnel are so incompetent that they cannot find a person’s wallet card, or the company is so desperate to sell its product that it resorts to ridiculous statements.

In 2007, VeriChip Corporation partnered with Florida-based Alzheimer’s Community Care (ACC) in a two-year program to study the effectiveness of the VeriMed Patient Identification System on patients with Alzheimer disease, other forms of dementia and their caregivers. (11-12) Concerned about using vulnerable individuals to test microchip implants, citizens organized a peaceful, interfaith prayer vigil outside the Alzheimer’s Community Care facility. The press release “Interfaith Vigil to Protest VeriChipping of Alzheimer’s Patients” says, “Planners hope the event will enlighten caregivers to the serious medical and societal downsides of the VeriChip and encourage them to rethink using elderly dementia patients as research subjects to test the controversial product.” (13-15)

One of the potential health risks for microchipped patients who suffer from dementia pertains to MRI diagnostics. As those suffering from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are often “confused” or “unable to communicate,” VeriChip’s instructions for patients undergoing MRI indicate that these microchipped individuals may be denied the right to MRI diagnostics. (16-17)

Humans are not the only ones affected by VeriChip’s list of precautions associated with microchip implants and MRI. Veterinarians use MRI technology to diagnose health problems experienced by dogs, cats, and even horses. Considering that these animals are “sedated” for the procedure, “unable to communicate with the MR system operator,” and unable to alert anyone if they are experiencing any “unusual sensations or problems,” it appears that animals with a microchip implant may be denied the opportunity to undergo MRI diagnostics safely. So, once again, humans and animals alike are adversely affected by microchip implants.




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