Chuck Norris Claims Chemicals Used in MRI Scans Poisoned His Wife Gena
Action star Chuck Norris’ latest fight is against medical device manufacturers and the chemicals used in MRI imaging scans that he alleges have poisoned his wife.
The Walker, Texas Ranger star, 77, filed a lawsuit in San Francisco Superior Court on Wednesday, the Associated Press reported. In it, he claims his wife Gena Norris was left weak, tired, with a burning sensation and “debilitating bouts of pain” after being injected by doctors with gadolinium — a paramagnetic metal ion found in so-called contrast agents used to improve the clarity of her MRIs.
Chuck is seeking more than $10 million in damages to cover the millions of dollars already spent on treatment for Gena, The New York Daily News reported.
Representatives for the Norris including Cutter Law, the firm representing the family, did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
According to a statement by the Radiological Society of North America issued this September, “Gadolinium-based contrast agents have been used for diagnosis and treatment guidance in more than 100 million patients worldwide over the past 25 years” and provide “crucial, life-saving medical data.”
“These agents enhance the quality of MRI images by altering the magnetic properties of nearby water molecules in the body,” the RSNA says. “By improving the visibility of specific organs, blood vessels or tissues, contrast agents help physicians diagnose and treat a wide variety of medical conditions” such as cancer, infections, or bleeding.”
Doctors injected Gena with gadolinium for three MRI scans that she received over eight days back in 2012, the San Francisco Business Times reported.
She told KPIX-5 that she asked the medical staff if gadolinium was safe and “they said absolutely.”
“I started to feel the effects immediately, not connecting anything,” she said. “After the third scan, I was definitely noticing that something was wrong. it started out with this intense burning inside my body that I can’t describe like someone has poured acid on your tissues.”
Over the course of the next few weeks, she made six ER visits and had three hospitalizations. “With each new visit, the burning was spreading,” Gena said.
“I am a healthy woman — I’m the lady on the ‘Total Gym’ infomercials next to him. I’ve been fit all my life. So to have anything happen to me like this it was a nightmare,” she added. “They poisoned the wrong lady, when they poisoned me.”
Gadolinium-based contrast agents are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, that said in a report published in May that they have “not identified adverse health effects from gadolinium” in the brain or other body tissues. The European Medicines Agency reached the same conclusion in July.
Still, both recommend health care professionals limit use of gadolinium-based contrast agents and assess the necessity of repetitive MRIs.
The lawsuit acknowledges that studies have not found an official link between gadolinium and the symptoms Gena has been experiencing, but alleges that’s only because doctors were previously unaware of any association (aside for those with prior kidney problems) and that blood and urine testing for gadolinium only recently became available, the AP reported.
Several manufacturers of gadolinium contrast agents are also accused in the lawsuit of knowing about the risks but failing to warn consumer.
“I am broken,” Gena explained to the Business Times. “I don’t blame the doctors at all, because (companies) have been keeping things hidden in the shadows … I never wanted litigation. But it’s wrong. It’s just wrong.”