While action star Chuck Norris has taken on numerous villains and other impossible situations on both the small and big screen over the years, his latest battle happens to be against the seemingly mundane world of medical device manufacturers. In a lawsuit recently filed in California, Norris alleges that a chemical that was injected into his wife during a recent MRI scan may have in fact poisoned her.
The Chemical Involved
The chemical named in the lawsuit, gadolinium, is used to help doctors improve the clarity of an MRI, allowing them to more accurately read the results and arrive at a diagnosis. However, according to the lawsuit filed by Norris, the chemical may have done this and also had some unintended consequences. Allegedly, the gadolinium injected into Norris’ wife Gena supposedly left her tired, weak, and experiencing burning sensations as well as bouts of pain that she considered debilitating. These allegations, contained in the papers filed with the San Francisco Superior Court, are the most serious of any side effects from the chemical Norris’ wife supposedly experienced.
What is Gadolinium?
Used in many MRI tests done every day around the nation, gadolinium is a metal found in what are known as contrast agents, which is what allows doctors to view the results of the test. Although used for many years in MRI tests, some studies have shown that the chemical may be retained in a person’s brain, bones, and skin. According to the American Academy of Radiology, gadolinium has been used in these types of tests since the 1980s on more than 300 million patients worldwide, and has provided life-saving medical information with few if any issues.
Because of various concerns being raised by patients and healthcare professionals, the United States Food and Drug Administration conducted an investigation this past May. However, once completed, the FDA stated it had found no evidence proving that any amount of gadolinium retained in a patient’s body was harmful. Along with the FDA findings, other investigations by European Union agencies reached the same conclusion, although they recommended suspending some gadolinium contrast agents as a precaution to protect patients.
In addition to Norris, other people have filed suit, alleging they had similar experiences after receiving gadolinium due to an MRI test. However, the lawsuit does acknowledge that no official link has been found to exist between gadolinium and any symptoms experienced by MRI patients. It states this could be due to the fact that blood and urine testing for gadolinium has only recently become available, since doctors have never had any reason to believe there was any link between gadolinium and kidney problems.
Even though there have been no official links found concerning gadolinium’s effects on patients, the Norris lawsuit does contain several allegations. For example, the couple’s attorney states that it is their belief this condition is misdiagnosed and under-diagnosed, which could result in few complaints being lodged by patients. In addition, the lawsuit contends that gadolinium manufacturers knew about potential risks, yet failed to warn consumers. Because of this, the lawsuit filed on behalf of Chuck Norris and his wife Gena is seeking $10 million in damages, alleging that Norris and his wife have had to spend millions of dollars on medical treatment to help Gena regain her health. Experts in this area state they are eager to see the results of this lawsuit, since it could potentially lead to more lawsuits being filed regarding this alleged problem.