MRIs are so routine that medical patients usually feel they have nothing to worry about when their doctors recommend them. But an emerging and dangerous disease, that is essentially being ignored by the media, may force people to take a second look. Some MRI’s are used with gadolinium-based contrast agents, which causes nephrogenic systemic fibrosis, a man-made skin disease that strikes unsuspecting patients, especially those with kidney problems. This personal injury is unknown in nature and the accumulation of this heavy metal progresses and wrongful death follows.
Gadolinium is a ferro-magnetic material, a heavy metal, approximately twice as heavy as arsenic. When it was introduced as an MRI contrast solution, it was coated to isolate it and prevent it from being released into the blood stream.
This product was manufactured and sold on the assumption that everyone exposed to it would have healthy kidneys and naturally pass the contrast solution from their body in several hours.
But people with kidney conditions, whether diagnosed or not, do not clear the contrast from their blood stream in the expected time. It can take days and during that time, the protective coating dissolves and free gadolinium enters the blood and freely travels throughout the body, lodging in bone marrow and leaching out over time.
As in all cases of toxic poisoning, the dose makes the poison. We are finding that even in people without major kidney impairment, there is a dose response to this metal, just as we see with all toxic materials.
People who are victimized by such MRI’s exhibit several symptoms as the NSF develops, including hypertension and the swelling of the hands and feet. Over time, blisters and red patches appear in the skin and the skin along the arms and feet harden. The brutal disease causes severe burning and itching and a loss of skin flexibility. Victims have to resort to a wheel chair as deep pain in their hips flare up. In some cases, internal organs harden. And sometimes victims die.
The diagnosis of NSF is often made by a dermatologist or nephrologist after taking a skin biopsy. Previously the disease was known as Nephrogenic Fibrosing Dermopathy, a fibrous condition of the skin associated with kidney dysfunction and can be identified by microscopic analysis of a skin sample. Because this disease is new, doctors are just beginning to appreciate it, identify it and render a diagnosis.
There is no cure and little is known about this new disease. Hopefully medical science will develop a method to cleanse the body of this toxic metal. Meanwhile, people with kidney problems continue to receive the contrast agent. Time is of the essence to raise awareness of this overlooked issue. If you or someone you know has been exposed to this poison, you need experienced attorneys fast who will help you get a definitive diagnosis, refer you to the top specialists providing care for this outrageous personal injury and put legal action for you into high gear.
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