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  • She Chose MidMichigan Medical Center–Gratiot for Her Pacesetting MRI.



Nancy Parsons

Nancy Parsons

Wife, Mom, Grandmother, Professional Counselor and Pioneering Pacemaker Patient 

Oil City, Michigan

“I have roots with MidMichigan Medical Center–Gratiot. I know how much the doctors and staff care.”

She Chose MidMichigan Medical Center–Gratiot for Her Pacesetting MRI

Nancy Parsons of Oil City is proud when her restored 1957 Chevy Bel Air convertible earns first place at car shows, but she gets even more excited about another “first.” Nancy, 67, was the first patient with a pacemaker to have magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at MidMichigan Medical Center–Gratiot.

In this era of medical wonders, pacemakers and MRIs are both common; but until recently, anyone with a pacemaker was unable to have an MRI, because the machine’s powerful magnetic field would cause problems with the device.

Nancy’s pacemaker was implanted in May 2011, after she developed a type of irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation and a heart rate of 261 beats per minute, in addition to other complications. Based on previous knee and hip issues, she knew future MRIs were likely, so in a meeting with the cardiologist before receiving the implant, she asked if that would be a problem.

“In the past, it would have been an automatic ‘yes,’ but the nurse jumped up and came back with a box,” Nancy said. “It was a brand new, first-of-its-kind pacemaker that had just been released on the market. With it, I would be able to have an MRI.” In fact, Nancy would be one of the first patients in the area to have the Revo MRI™ SureScan® pacemaker, made by Medtronic.

A Competent and Caring Team

With the new pacemaker, an MRI could be safely performed under certain conditions. When MidMichigan Medical Center–Gratiot began implanting the devices, the staff made sure they also had the needed MRI capabilities. The Radiology Department already had the right equipment – an open bore MRI with magnet strength of 1.5T – and the MRI team, the most experienced in the area, had received the necessary additional training for the scan.

As a result, when Nancy needed an MRI shortly after getting her pacemaker, she decided on MidMichigan Medical Center–Gratiot.

“I have roots with this hospital,” she said. “I was born here, and three of my children were born here. I know how much the doctors and staff at this hospital care.”

Despite being anxious before her MRI, Nancy found herself relaxing as the staff members and medical representatives who were there to perform and observe the scan turned into a supportive group.

Tears and Cheers

Nancy’s pacemaker would be turned to MRI-safe mode before the MRI and reset to normal mode when it was finished. “I decided to do the serenity prayer,” she said. “I believe God would not bring me to anything he would not bring me through.”

When the pacemaker was turned to MRI-safe mode, her heart maintained 55 beats per minute. “I thought, OK! My heart’s just fine,” she said.

“They had told me I would feel some discomfort when they turned the pacemaker back on. At first, it felt like a rollercoaster, then like someone was sitting on my chest. I felt lightheaded, but it passed and everything was fine. We all clapped and celebrated, and I started crying tears of gratitude because so many people had gathered around to help me and care for me.”

These days, with her heart condition and other medical concerns under control, Nancy’s life is back to its usual pace. A specialist in substance abuse counseling and relationship issues, she maintains two private-practice counseling agencies named Recovery Unlimited Counseling, one in St. Louis (Michigan) and the other in Mt. Pleasant. She and her husband, Mike, also own and manage rentals and properties. In addition, they’ve restored a one-room schoolhouse and returned the Pleasant Valley Methodist Church to its 1895 condition. Meanwhile, they keep track of many children, handfuls of grandchildren, and four cocker spaniels.

“I know the anxiety and concern I went through with my medical situation,” she said. “If I can alleviate one person’s or one family’s concern by telling my story, I’m glad to do that. Just as I did, they will find competent people who care at MidMichigan Medical Center–Gratiot, and that’s truly a real blessing”


Revo MRI and SureScan are trademarks of Medtronic.



In addition to advanced MRI imaging, MidMichigan Medical Center–Gratiot offers a wide range of comprehensive imaging services, including a 128-slice CT scanner and digital mammography. This advanced imaging technology is yet another way MidMichigan continues to combine state-of-the-art technology with physician expertise. For more information about programs and services offered at the Medical Center, visit