Stroke after neck adjustment – Woman claims she was not warned of risk

Another case of a stroke after chiropractic adjustment. This one ends in settlement of a suit.

Chiropractor forged consent form after patient’s stroke | CTV News.

A chiropractor forged the signature of an Edmonton woman on a patient consent form, after she suffered a massive stroke that her family blamed on a neck adjustment, CTV News has learned.

In early September 2007, Sandra Nette was left in so-called “locked in syndrome,” meaning she was so severely disabled that she was unable to walk and barely able to speak or swallow. Tests appeared to show tears in the arteries at the back of her neck.

Nette and her husband, David, told CTV News she suffered the injuries after a neck adjustment by chiropractor Gregory John Stiles, from whom she had received treatment for years.

The couple said Nette was not properly warned of the risks of the neck adjustment, and filed a $5 million lawsuit.

The lawsuit came to a conclusion with an out of court “satisfaction of judgement” that the Nettes cannot discuss.

Tip: @blue_wode on Twitter

The background to this story is here.

Science-based med has a piece on Sandra here.

Chiropractors would like us to believe that strokes after neck adjustments are mere coincidence, that patients like Sandra go to a chiropractor because they have neck pain from a stroke-in-progress and the manipulation is not the culprit. But cases like this are crystal-clear: she had no prior symptoms and there is no question that the neck maneuvers directly caused the tears in the arteries. One of the doctors in the ER took one look at her and asked her husband, “Chiropractor?” Neurologists, emergency physicians, and rational chiropractors all recognize that neck adjustments occasionally cause strokes, but the majority of chiropractors are still resisting reality.

Chiropractors tell us that strokes after neck adjustments are exceedingly rare, and that other forms of treatment, such as NSAIDs, are more dangerous. But in this case, it wasn’t a question of comparing treatment options, because nothing was being treated. There is no evidence to support the practice of maintenance adjustments. The absolute risk is small but the risk/benefit ratio is infinite because the benefit is zero.

These stories sometimes show up in bursts. We posted this story yesterday.

Science-based Medicine blog has a bunch of other info on chiropractic and strokes. It’s important.

What’s the harm: Chiropractic

  8 comments for “Stroke after neck adjustment – Woman claims she was not warned of risk

  1. Lauri
    October 4, 2012 at 11:30 AM

    That’s really frightening.

  2. Eisbein
    October 4, 2012 at 11:45 AM

    I once thought, that chiropractic is a propper medical treatment. The name alone sounded very “medical ” to me. A friend told me once, that she went to a chiropractic and how wonderful this treatment was, and how good she felt afterwards. I was convinced to a point, that I almost made an appointement myself.Fortunately I’m very lazy when it comes to doctors appointments and I never went. Only later, when I read up about homeopathy, I also stumbeld over skeptical artickels about chiropractic. I had absolutely no idea what hokus-pokus this is.
    I’m glad I stumbled over your website and “woke up!”
    I have no idea how to convince my family and friends that this dangerous as they swear by the results.
    Thanks again!

  3. Melissa
    October 4, 2012 at 11:50 AM

    I am so grateful you posted this. I have been going to an integrated medical office for physical therapy due to a lower back issue. Nothing serious just needed to get my muscles back on track so I could resume my normal active lifestyle. During one of these appointments I was given an adjustment to include my neck. I was not informed of the dangers nor informed why my neck was being crushed to help my lower back / inner hip. I read several of the accompanying articles and am ready to explain very clearly why my neck will NEVER be touched again. Thanks for this!

  4. Adam
    October 4, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    It’s too bad that health insurance providers are not legally obliged to only cover and pay out for clinically proven health treatment rather than quackery.

  5. Haldurson
    October 4, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    I’m 52 now, but I remember when I was in my 20s, back before when I was ‘officially’ a skeptic. My dad was an attorney, and was handling a case for me where I was in an auto accident. I was experiencing pain and my boss recommended that I see a chiropractor. I happened to mention that to my dad, and he almost had a fit. My dad never discussed details of his work, but apparently, my dad had to sue MANY different chiropractors on behalf of various clients who had suffered injury (or worse???). I was an adult living on my own at the time, but I remember him FORBIDDING me from going to a chiropractor, simply because based on his experiences, he didn’t trust any of them.

  6. October 4, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    I know anecdotes aren’t worth a hill of beans, but years ago I used to date a neurosurgeon who always told me that chiropracty was terribly dangerous and that people in his profession often had to try to fix the damage it caused. The impression he gave me about the perils of this “science” appears to be sadly accurate.

  7. Kristen
    October 5, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    When I was a kid my mom was very fond of chiropractic adjustment, she even had me adjusted many times. When I was ten, and she was about 35, she had a debilitating stroke. She was a paraplegic the rest of her life, and obviously life changed forever for everyone involved. It was always a mystery why someone so young would have had a stroke, and so I spent my life worrying about when I would have a stroke too. When I recently heard about the link between strokes and chiropractic, it was almost a relief to think there was some reason beyond the feeling I grew up with, that our bodies are a ticking time bomb waiting to fail on us unexpectedly at any moment.

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