Body pain, burning, kidney damage, loss of energy, and difficulty breathing weren’t what Gena Norris expected after an MRI scan in 2012. Actor Chuck Norris and his wife Gena filed a lawsuit detailing these concerns due to gadolinium toxicity poisoning where she has since become a spokesperson on the agents.

During MRI scans and other magnetic imaging processes, gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCAs) are administered to patients as a water-based drink or injected in order to enhance the quality of medical testing. The GBCAs help physicians see hidden concerns through various parts of the body and create a clear distinction.

Magnetic resonance imaging, gadolinium injection

The culprit, gadolinium, is a natural earth metal that is “retained in the brain, skin, bones, and organs” and can contribute to long-term serious side effects. The FDA announced that it will look into new safety measures for certain “dyes.” However, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has already suspended three of the agents.

Moreover, recent studies from 2018 have found that the agents may remain in the body for months to years, which can then build up in the bone, brain, and kidney tissue. This may eventually lead to a rare condition called nephrogenic systemic fibrosis.

Norris, who was originally being tested for rheumatoid arthritis, developed an awful pain throughout her body. After being hospitalized several times, she experienced violent shaking, numbness, burning, and “long-term cognitive deficits.”

 Gena claims that if she was made aware of the risks, she wouldn’t have agreed to the contrast agent.As a result, the couple is suing for $10 million dollars after spending up to $2 million dollars on medical expenses. They hope to raise awareness for others who are experiencing medical concerns with gadolinium.

Individual patient concerns are pertinent to the future of medicine. Gena, along with thousands of other people, is fighting to have her voice heard, and believed, in a medical system rooted in false evidence and inaccurate facts.

 

Featured photo: Aaron Webb/Flickr