Chiropractic care is often marketed as being a small, harmless adjustment. Not a risky medical procedure, but instead a benign wellness treatment. Actually, chiropractic spinal adjustments are associated with certain risks, which the chiropractor has a duty to inform you of as part of providing your care. Shafran & Rock, PLLC is an experienced law firm in Kingston that has handled many chiropractic malpractice cases. For a free case evaluation, please call us at (845) 383-1170.
Chiropractic Treatment and the Risk of Stroke and Injury
If you receive a neck adjustment from a chiropractor, the treatment could very well place you at risk for suffering a stroke. Most researchers believe this type of stroke is caused by dissection of the vertebral artery, which supplies blood to the brainstem.
Substantial medical evidence confirms the risk of strokes from vertebral artery dissection, which can occur during neck manipulations. “Dissection” can cause a blood clot to form, blocking the blood flow to the brainstem. This harm is well known in the medical community and has been documented in the peer reviewed medical literature for nearly 70 years. Nonetheless, many chiropractors neglect or refuse to disclose this danger.
A stroke can leave you with permanent disabilities. You may be left with impaired motor functions, or problems associated with your breathing, blood pressure and consciousness.
When you suffer an injury from a chiropractic adjustment, you need an aggressive advocate. Holding chiropractors accountable for malpractice requires a deep knowledge and understanding of anatomy, medicine and the chiropractic process. Shafran & Rock, PLLC has handled many of these cases and he understands what they demand.
Our attorneys believe that when a chiropractor fails to warn his or her patients of the risks of neck manipulation and fails to perform these procedures safely, they are committing malpractice. We take on the chiropractic industry and the insurance companies that protect them. We also handle cases in which a chiropractor causes a herniated disk injury.
Holding the Chiropractic Industry accountable for Malpractice
A chiropractor may be held accountable for negligence or wrongdoing if he or she caused a stroke and:
- Failed to adequately warn you of the risk of stroke
- Failed to get your informed consent
- Forged your consent after the injury
Although most physicians and researchers believe the risk of stroke from neck cracking is low, they agree the risk does exist. Wouldn’t you want to be informed of the risk of a treatment, no matter how remote that risk is? Unfortunately, a number of chiropractors simply do not properly inform their patients of the risk of stroke, and many do not obtain informed consent. Most chiropractors suggest these procedures are safe. Too many people have found that this is not the case.
Chiropractors owe a standard of care to provide safe treatment to their patients and they must obtain the patient’s permission after explaining the risks and benefits of the adjustment they are recommending.
Most chiropractic stroke victims say the same thing: “I had no idea.” The patient’s feelings of betrayal are all the more profound when the purpose of the chiropractic treatment was only for “wellness” care.
Is There a Clear Standard of Care in Chiropractic Treatment?
Chiropractic as a profession dates to 1895. From that time on, chiropractors themselves have identified their own standards of care. There are those in our democracy who say that the chiropractic profession lacks the checks and balances and objectivity that is built into our Constitution. The executive, judicial and legislative branches are supposed to keep each other in check in our federal and state governments.
Checks and Balances
Likewise, medical communities often have built-in checks and balances, depending on their governance organizations. The chiropractic profession has operated outside that system of checks and balances. Therefore, the ones who determine the standard of care in chiropractic care are the same ones who administer treatments to patients.
Safety Mechanisms and Fallacies
Who is to know if the chiropractic standard of care in fact functions as a self-fulfilling prophecy without the participation of objective outsiders? What safety mechanisms do or do not exist to prevent fallacies from taking root? Who determines when a violation of the standard of care has occurred — and how to correct these violations?
Intricacies of Interpretation
Take the case of Christa, who had developed backaches as a result of driving often for her work. She went to a chiropractor for treatment, and the very next day, experienced dizziness. She went back to the chiropractor to complain, and he twisted her neck again. Within ten minutes, she was in a full-blown stroke. On her first visit, she had no abnormal symptoms, yet in that first neck twist, her artery was damaged. The second time, she did have abnormal symptoms, but was given an upper cervical manipulation in spite of that fact.
Even though the first manipulation damaged the artery, the chiropractor had not violated a standard of care according to the profession’s own standards. Only the second treatment was said to have violated a standard of care. Therefore, if she had not gone back the second time, but had had the stroke that was apparently set in motion at that time, the chiropractor would not have been liable for violation of the chiropractic standard of care. We believe this is not an acceptable care practice.
Doesn’t this clearly show the need for the establishment of a safe consistent and reliable chiropractic standard of care?
Chiropractic Stroke Awareness Organization is a non-profit. We are dedicated to understanding, evaluating and researching the risks of stroke induced by chiropractic upper cervical manipulation.
We welcome the participation of chiropractors, doctors, lawyers and other interested professionals, including physical therapists and psychological counselors.
Have You Been A Victim of Chiropractic Stroke?
An injury or wrongful death caused by someone else’s careless behavior should never happen, but unfortunately these cases of personal injury happen all the time. People, companies and corporations who violate their legal responsibilities should be held accountable for the consequences of their actions and inaction. Charles Rock is an aggressive and experienced personal injury attorney in Newburgh who will fight for you and your family. Please call us at 845-566-9200 for a free consultation.
Your Personal Injury Case
At our personal injury firm in Newburgh, NY, every case is personally handled by Charles Rock, from beginning to end. We also have an office location in the Bronx. Mr. Rock handles a wide range of injury cases and legal issues, including:
- Truck accidents
- Auto accidents
- Lead poisoning
- Chiropractic malpractice
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home negligence
- Product liability
- Premises liability
Effects of Chiropractic Stroke
Any stroke can cause serious neurological injuries that are often permanent. The effects of a stroke can have a severe impact on both your physical and mental capabilities.
If you have suffered a stroke due to chiropractic malpractice, pursuing a claim against the chiropractor responsible for your injuries may help you get the financial support you need as you deal with the long-term effects of stroke.
At the Law Offices of Charles N. Rock in Newburgh and the Bronx, we help clients nationwide pursue fair compensation for chiropractic strokes. Contact us to schedule a free consultation with experienced chiropractic malpractice attorney Charles Rock.
Understanding the Impact of a Stroke on the Mind and Body
A stroke can do permanent damage to the brain stem and other parts of the neurological system. In the most severe cases, it can cause death. In other cases, depending on the type and severity of the stroke, permanent effects can include:
- Weakness and loss of muscle function
- Loss of sensation and reflexes
- Tingling, numbness and dizziness
- Loss of concentration and ability to multitask
- Walsenburg’s syndrome (difficulty swallowing or speaking)
- Locked-in syndrome (paralysis)
Many people who have had a stroke are no longer able to perform in the workplace as they did before. Previously routine work tasks may become more difficult, and many people have to leave their jobs within a few years, if not right away.
How Can Risk of Stroke be Reduced in Chiropractic Treatment?
Chiropractors who are conscientious and acknowledge the risk of stroke induced by upper cervical manipulation recommend preventive measures, including the following:
- Thorough intake procedures for new patients, to help identify possible risk factors for strokes
- Clear presentation of warnings and known risks to patients considering undergoing upper cervical manipulation
- Recommendations that patients receive the safest and least invasive treatments appropriate
Some chiropractors do not acknowledge the risks of strokes induced by chiropractic treatments. They cite statistics that seem to indicate chiropractic treatments are safer than most other medical procedures; however, even one stroke is too many.
How Can Safety Be Measured?
Part of the problem is that there is no method by which a chiropractor can measure how far an artery can be manipulated at high velocity without tearing, resulting in risky scenarios involving blood clots breaking away from the artery wall and moving toward the brain. Patients who are informed of the risks may well decide against upper cervical manipulation and opt for less risky treatments. However, until informed consent is mandatory for all chiropractors, patients are at risk without ever knowing it.
Some Chiropractic Schools Do Not Teach These Methods
There are chiropractic schools that do not teach high-velocity upper cervical manipulations and whose graduates do not ever use this technique. It seems that these chiropractic patients have not experienced concurrent strokes.
Building Awareness of Chiropractic Stroke
A stroke can cause serious long-term damage and even death, but quick treatment by a physician or emergency department can significantly reduce the risk of permanent harm. That is why it is important to know the signs and symptoms and to tell your doctor about anything that may have caused your stroke. If you have stroke like symptoms after chiropractic treatment you should be certain to tell this fact to your doctors. Since strokes can be caused by other conditions, your doctor will know to look for a vertebral artery dissection or carotid artery dissection and they can determine whether that was the source of clots that cause the stroke.
At the Law Offices of Charles N. Rock in New York, we assist clients nationwide in determining whether their strokes have been caused by chiropractic neck manipulation and, if so, holding chiropractors accountable for their malpractice.
To schedule a free consultation with experienced Newburgh chiropractic malpractice lawyer Charles Rock, contact us today.
Knowing the Signs and Symptoms So You Can Get Fast Medical Attention
Malpractice in chiropractic treatment is one of the many circumstances that can cause a stroke. No matter what causes them, all strokes have common symptoms. According to the American Heart Association, the following may be signs and symptoms of stroke:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden, severe headache with no known cause
If you have any of these symptoms, you should get emergency medical attention immediately. If you are treated within an hour (called “the golden hour”), you may be able to avoid irreversible harm. A full-fledged stroke that goes untreated will most likely lead to permanent damage.
Identifying Whether Chiropractic Treatment Caused Your Stroke
Chiropractic neck manipulation can cause strokes when arteries leading to the brain are torn on the inside. This tear – called “dissection” often results in the formation of blood clots as the body tries to heal the tear. The clots that break away then flow “upstream” in the arteries into the brain. As the arteries branch off into smaller ones, the clot will into those smaller arteries and finally will clog them. The brain tissue ahead, “downstream”, will quickly become deprived of the nutrients and oxygen. Brain tissue is injured and dies very quickly. Brain tissue cannot be replaced. In some cases, strokes have occurred during the chiropractic treatment, but they can also occur days and even weeks after the treatment as a result of artery damage.