Reporting Stephanie Stahl
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A common test that millions of people get is supposed to diagnose problems. But a Philadelphia woman says it made her sicker. 3 On Your Side Medical Reporter Stephanie Stahl has more on the MRI shocker.
Denise King has been singing for 25 years, making CD’s, headlines and performing around the country and in Europe.
But now she says she sometimes has trouble remembering songs, especially new ones.
“It’s upsetting. It’s frustrating. It’s embarrassing sometimes,” said Denise.
She says her memory fell apart after what she calls an MRI mishap two years ago at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
Denise had a sinus problem, and was sent to get the specialized imaging that was done in a traditional tube like machine.
Magnetic resonance imaging uses a powerful magnetic field, generated by an electric current and radio frequency pulses.
“And I remember telling them, ‘I’m being electrocuted, I am being shocked, something’s happening to me, stop it,’” said Denise.
She says she was trapped inside the MRI tube, her head held down with a mask.
“I’m screaming, I’m crying, I’m panicking. Help me, get me out of here, I’m being shocked,” said Denise.
She says the technicians stopped the test quickly and pulled her out. Denise says she was checked by a doctor and sent home.
“Their response was well, we know something happened, we just don’t know what,” said Denise.
She says she was disoriented and had burns on her arms. But after a few weeks felt better, and needed to get back to work. And that’s when she really started to notice the memory problems.
“After this incident, everything changed,” said Denise.
“Something strange started happening. She began not remembering performances. She called me for, she began to forget lyrics,” said Aaron Graves, a band member.
“It was the most horrific experience I have ever had in my life,” said Denise.
She says after months of getting no answers from HUP doctors, she got a lawyer involved, and filed suit against the hospital.
“We know something happened, and it shouldn’t have,” said Edward McCandless, Denise’s Attorney from Langsam Stevens & Silver LLP.
He says he’ll be able to prove that Denise’s memory problems caused by the MRI have interfered with her career.
Stahl asked, “How can you prove these memory problems are related to that incident and not a matter of her aging?”
McCandless replied, “I think the science is there, the medicine is there, the story is there.”
We talked to several radiologists and the American College of Radiology. They all said they never heard of an MRI shocking someone.
Denise sometimes now relies on her phone for words to songs, and sticks to the oldies, the songs in her heart, that she still remembers.
A spokesperson for the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where Denise had the MRI, says they don’t comment on cases in litigation.
Denise’s lawyer says the hospital has not yet filed its response to the suit.
Denise says she’s determined to keep working and singing, and finding ways to overcome her forgetfulness.
Reported By: Stephanie Stahl, CBS3