Articles Posted in Chiropractor

Chiropractic%20Injuries%20%26%20Stroke.jpgChiropractic injuries—that is, injuries caused by the chiropractor—are more common than most chiropractic patients realize. One of the most troubling and serious injuries caused by chiropractic treatment is stroke following manipulation of the cervical spine (i.e. neck).

More Americans are seeking chiropractic treatment than any time in our history, making over 250 million visits to chiropractors last year. According to the American Chiropractic Association, over a million of these visits included neck manipulations (chiropractors prefer the term “adjustment”).

With the growing number of chiropractor visits has come an increase in chiropractic injuries. The most troubling trend is the growing number of young, healthy chiropractic patients suffering strokes following chiropractic neck adjustments. What chiropractors do not want people to know (and what they often do not warn their unsuspecting patients of) is that abrupt twisting of the neck can damage the inner layer of the vertebral artery (called a vertebral artery dissection), creating a blood clot. If the blood clot is forced by the flow of blood upward from the neck it can cut off blood flow to part of the brain, causing a stroke. Stroke often results in permanent brain damage, which is often quite severe.

We recently posted about the common practice of chiropractic manipulation on children and even infants raising disturbing questions about the possibility of causing vertebral artery tears and strokes in these tiny patients. Recent news from Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association, published this November reports that strokes are occurring in younger patients at a much higher rate than previously believed. Strokes, once believed to afflict only older patients and extremely rare in children, are now believed to be a real danger.

The article reported that strokes in kids may be for times more common than previously believed. This may be due, according to Dr. Heather Fullerton of the University of California in San Francisco, the lead author of the study, to doctors who treat these patients ignoring or not recognizing the warning signs of stroke. In Canada, the study reports, as many as 6 to ten children out of every 100,000 may be the victim of stroke.

Stroke, in adults or children, can be caused by tearing of the arteries near the neck and brain. This can be caused by numerous kinds of neck injuries like accidents, rough play, or even from chiropractic adjustments. What is alarming is that the highest risk of stroke is to newborns under a month in age.

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The Washington State Department of Health, which is responsible for taking disciplinary action against healthcare providers and professionals in the State of Washington has recently suspended the licenses of two chiropractors for five years each for thier behavior.

In Clark County:

In June 2009 the Chiropractic Commission placed the license of chiropractor Troy M. Dreiling (CH00003052) on probation for five years. He failed to document reasons or need for treatments offered to patients, billed for an evaluation but failed to document the evaluation, took inadequate x-rays, failed to keep adequate documentation of diagnosis and treatments, and failed to comply with conditions set against his license. He must comply with terms and conditions set against his license.

Pic.jpgDoes this concept concern you? Did you even know that many chiropracors push for treatment of children, some even as young as a couple of months old? Many highly influential chiropracic organizations, such as the Council on Chirpractic Practice, advocate the use of chiropractic treatment on children this young? With confirmed reports of adult patients suffering from vertebral artery tears and strokes, should children be put at the same risk?

This chiropractor actually tries to convince us that a standard vaginal dilervy of an infant can necessitate chiroractic treatment to correct “misalingments” of the baby’s spine caused by the delivery. This video depicts a mother bringing her new-born in for its first chiropractic “adjustments.” You will note that the chiropractor doing the traction adjustment, when asked whether stretching the baby will “even hurt him at all” responds that it won’t because babies are “all so pliable these days!”

This video depitcts another baby being adjusted. The disturbing this about this one is that you can actually observe the chiropractor rapidly twising the child’s head and neck to the side. The baby does not ever appear to be in pain, but neither are victims of vertebral artery tears prior to their injury (other than the discomfort they may be feeling that brought them to the chiropractors office in the first place). Just how far and how rapidly does a baby’s head have to be twisted to cause injury? Would you want to be the parent that finds out? I’m not sure what is causing this poor child to be upset, but does it look to you like the adjustment is helping?

In an attempt to dispute what real doctors across the land are saying about the real risks of stroke associated with chiropractic manipulations, the World Chiropractic Alliance has issued a statement trying to assure people that the risk is too small to be significant. http://www.worldchiropracticalliance.org/positions/stroke.htm

In my opinion, if the chiropractors have ANY evidence that they are doing something that is causing people to have strokes, then they need to at least warn people of the risk before they do it. Otherwise, they are recklessly disclosing very relevant information necessary to obtain the informed consent of their patients.

For more information about the rights of those who are injured by the negligence of a chiropractor, contact

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According to the World Chiropractic Alliances’ web site, the following articulates its members’ philosophy:

We promote chiropractic as a drug-free, subluxation-based health care approach providing lifetime, family wellness care. It should be available to all people, from infancy to old age, regardless of the presence or absence of symptoms. We work constantly and vigorously to ensure that chiropractic does not deteriorate into a medical therapy or incorporate drugs, surgery or other medical techniques.

Really? They think of themselves as essentially a primary care physician and/or a pediatrician? They think chiropractic treatment is appropriate without regard to whether a person has symptoms indicating a problem? Does this statement mean they think it can be appropriate to “adjust” an infant’s neck?

Criminal charges against a South Australia chiropractor, Mario Forte, has been dropped by the court without public explanation. We previously wrote about the case here. Forte’s patient, James Halloran, died while under his care from apparent hear attack. Halloran had presented to Forte’s office in December of 2006 complaining of a stiff neck and dizziness, both considered to be warning signs for heart attacks. Rather than sending Halloran to the hospital, Forte, who also happens to be blind, continued with the appointment. During the session, Halloran began to shake violently. According to an inquest performed into Halloran’s death, Forte did not call an ambulance immediately because he thought Halloran was merely having a seizure. Paramedics finally arrived, but too late to save Halloran who had suffered massive brain damage due to a lack of oxygen to his brain. He died two days later after he was taken off of life support.

Authorities subsequently charged Forte for the death. For reasons that were not made public by the Court, the criminal charges against Forte for Halloran’s death have recently been dropped. Autopsy efforts continue to determine the cause of Halloran’s fatal heart attack while under Forte’s care.

If you would like more information about the harm chiropractors can cause, or can fail to prevent, please contact the attorneys at Bahe Cook Cantley & Nefzger PLC.

For over a year and a half now, British science writer Simon Singh has been involved in a lawsuit against him brought by the British Chiropractic Association (“BCA”). The lawsuit claims that Singh has Libeled the BCA when he published an article in the Guardian criticizing the BCA for supporting members who claim that chiropractic treatments, which involve manipulation of the spine, can treat children’s colic, sleeping and feeding problems, frequent ear infections, asthma, and prolonged crying. In Singh’s article, he wrote about British chiropractors claiming that they could treat children’s colic, sleeping and feeding problems, frequent ear infections, asthma, and prolonged crying, with spinal manipulations. Singh pointed to the fact that there was no evidence to support such claims and even called them “bogus.” Singh went on to criticize the BCA for supporting chiropractors who made such claims. As a result of Singh’s criticism of the BCA’s support of members who made such unsubstantiated, and Singh put it, “Bogus,” claims of helping to treat children’s problems like colic through spinal manipulation, the BCA sued him for Libel.

In the United States, such criticism of medical procedures is legally acceptable, and considered by many in the field of science to be beneficial to examining the medical field. However, British laws regarding Slander and Libel differ from those in the United States, and are considered by some to be too rigid and stifle free speech. In May of this year, a British lower court found that Singh’s comments about the BCA carried the legal equivalent of implying that the BCA was being deliberately dishonest. Singh appealed and has won a ruling that found the lower court’s conclusions and interpretations were erroneous. Singh’s legal battles with the BCA continue to date. This appears to be an industries’ attempt to punish Singh for publishing opinions which negatively effect the Chiropractic industry.

There is an excellent article by Dr. Steven Barrett that discusses the cause and effect of chiropractic manipulations and severance of the vertebral artery –thus leading to stroke. Dr. Barrett’s article “Chiropractic’s Dirty Secret: Neck Manipulation and Strokes” is can be found

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A woman and her husband have filed a class action lawsuit in Canada against her chiropractor, the Alberta College and Association of Chiropractors, and the Alberta Ministry of Health. The lawsuit hopes to bring attention to the dangers of chiropractic neck manipulation.

The lawsuit was filed after the woman, Sandra Nette, became paralyzed after treating with her chiropractor in 2007. At the visit, Sandra’s chiropractor manipulated her neck and tore her vertebral arteries. On the way home from the visit, Sandra began feeling dizzy and went to the hospital. Just one hour later Sandra was paralyzed and unable to swallow, speak, or breath on her own. Through physical therapy and rehabilitation, Sandra has regained slight movement in one arm and is able to communicate with a touch pad.

Sandra was never warned that neck adjustments could cause a stroke. She and her husband have filed a class action lawsuit in the hopes of bringing about changes in how chiropractors are regulated in Canada. They also hope by spreading the word about the potential dangers of neck manipulation, they will prevent others from suffering a similar tragedy.