A Dangerous Twist: Beware of Injuries Caused by Chiropractic Manipulation

Category: Accidents, Personal Injury, Negligence & Medical Malpractice

A study released earlier this year by physicians at Baylor University Medical Center highlighted the risk of injury to vertebral arteries from chiropractic manipulation of the neck. The damage to the blood vessels can lead to disastrous strokes and death. This danger has been reported repeatedly in recent years by the medical profession as a means to alert both physicians and patients to the dangerous hazards frequently associated with this type of chiropractic treatment. 

The Baylor study, entitled “Vertebral Artery Dissection Following Chiropractic Manipulation”, focused on a 38-year-old woman who developed headache, vomiting, dizziness, and double vision following neck manipulation by her chiropractor. Fortunately for her, she proceeded to the hospital where prompt recognition and treatment prevented a catastrophic stroke. Our firm has handled several cases where the chiropractic patients were not so lucky. In one, our client, a nurse, developed symptoms such as those described above following a cervical (neck) adjustment. Her chiropractor did not recognize the symptoms. In the days that followed, her family doctor and a local emergency room missed the diagnosis, as well. As a result of the torquing of her neck by the chiropractor, she had suffered a dissection (tear) of a blood vessel stemming from a vertebrae in her neck. This tear caused a bleed which then formed a clot that eventually traveled to her brain stem. The resulting stroke left her a quadriplegic. Her case eventually settled for millions, but her life was tragically altered forever.

We currently are litigating three similar cases where our clients suffered permanent deficits from neck adjustments performed by chiropractors. Hopefully, the chiropractic community will gain greater understanding of this risk, and provide more careful assessments and techniques, as well as thorough disclosure and warnings to unwitting patients. Moreover, increased understanding in the medical community of the signs, symptoms and needed emergent treatment, as demonstrated in the Baylor study, will hopefully save injured patients from the potentially devastating results.

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