Chuck Norris Sues Over MRI Chemical He Says Poisoned His Wife

Action film star and martial artist Chuck Norris and his wife Gena are suing health care companies over claims that Gena was poisoned by gadolinium, a chemical used as a contrast agent in MRIs.

The lawsuit, filed last Wednesday in San Francisco Superior Court, names gadolinium manufacturers McKesson Corporation, Bracco S.p.A., and ACIST Medical Systems Inc as defendants, claiming these manufacturers knew about the dangers of gadolinium but didn’t warn patients. The Norrises are seeking $10 million in damages.

The Norris’ story begins in 2012, after Gena was injected with gadolinium during three MRIs to monitor her rheumatoid arthritis. Gadolinium is a chemical that helps doctors see blood vessels and organs that is later expelled through the urine.

However, the Norrises claim that soon after the injections, Gena began feeling intense, burning pain that spread throughout her body, as well as shaking, numbness, tingling, fatigue, cognitive deficits, kidney damage and trouble breathing. Gena was hospitalized multiple times and eventually began undergoing a variety of alternative therapies.

Gadolinium has been used as a contrast agent in MRIs since 1988. Earlier this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reviewed the effects of gadolinium and stated that though small amounts of gadolinium-based contrast agents may be retained in the brain and other body tissues, they found no evidence that this retention had any adverse effects, except for patients with kidney problems who may have trouble passing the chemical.

The lawsuit acknowledges that there is no official link between gadolinium and the symptoms Gena (and other patients) experienced, but also states that blood and urine testing for gadolinium hadn’t been available until this year and most doctors aren’t aware of any potential issues with gadolinium, beyond those with kidney disease.

The law firm representing the case has filed lawsuits on behalf of other patients who say they were poisoned by gadolinium.

“Over the past several years, my focus has been on Gena’s health,” Chuck Norris said in a statement to The Washington Post. “And now we are working together to speak out about the dangers of MRI contrast agents.”

Gena told the San Francisco Business Times that at times she still feels like a hot poker is going up her spine, though her symptoms have improved somewhat.

“I am broken,” she said. “I don’t blame the doctors at all, because [companies] have been keeping things hidden and in the shadows.”

Opening photo courtesy of Chuck Norris’s Facebook page

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