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Common MRI drug could present brain injury risk

Assumptions of safety by scientists may have increased the risk of physician error and long-term injuries for New Mexico patients who have received an MRI. The magnetic resonance imaging scan is typically performed with a contrasting agent, which is a metal that provides a clearer picture of the internal body. Though the gadolinium-based agent is most popular, in part because of an assumption of near-total excretion and hence safety, the metal gadolinium is a known toxin for humans.

New research shows that previous assumptions that the compounds are excreted may have been misguided. Patients with renal disease provided the first key to this understanding as the gadolinium compound was correlated with a sometimes fatal kidney syndrome. Further research found that the compounds are metabolized and gadolinium is deposited in the bones and brain with unknown effect on the risk of brain injury. Researchers found that this occurred regardless of kidney function.

The FDA now requires warnings against use of that agent on those patients with kidney dysfunction. Years of common use and safety assumptions, however, may still promote physician error regarding these drugs. Scientists still do not understand the effects of these accumulations on the health of organs besides the kidneys. They also are not clear on the amount of metal required to induce toxicity.

Failure of physicians and hospitals to observe FDA warnings or the results of established research may provide the basis of a medical malpractice claim. Physician error in the administration of medications that result in the pain and suffering of a patient can be a traumatic event for the entire family. Increased medical expenses and loss of wages due to temporary or permanent disability can also cause extreme financial hardship. An attorney familiar with medical malpractice litigation might be of assistance to victims who have been harmed in such a manner.

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