Sandra Nette, victim of chiropractic, pens book about experience

A book published this past June chronicles the story of a woman who suffered an injury on the chiropractic table that led to paralysis.

About Blink – Life After Locked In Syndrome, by David and Sandra Nette.

Sandy suffered her stroke after a rapid upper neck manipulation performed by a chiropractor. This neck manipulation was for an apparent subluxation. She was a healthy forty year old who had been seeing a chiropractor for what she thought was “maintenance”. Sandy was convinced that by doing this she would enhance her well-being and keep her body in top shape. She started getting stroke symptoms while on the chiropractor’s table although she didn’t recognize these as early stroke symptoms even while driving home from his office. Once David reached her after receiving a panicking phone call from his wife, he rushed her to the hospital, where she had a series of multiple cascading strokes.

From the book promotion: A routine neck adjustment left Sandy Nette trapped in her own body. Paralysed by a series of violent strokes after her arteries were ripped by a chiropractor, she was unable to move or swallow or talk. Suddenly, Sandy was a prisoner of locked-in syndrome, devastatingly aware of the world around her but completely unable to reach it. Sandy could only communicate with those around her by blinking.

Here is the Amazon link to the book.

We covered Sandra’s story back in October 2012. She claimed she was not informed of the risk of chiropractic adjustment and filed a personal suit against the practitioner. It was settled.

An ambitious class action of which Nette participated ended in 2009/2010 where the judgement cites the issue of chiropractic as legitimate care. From the judgement [PDF]:

It is generally accepted that when a doctor acts in accordance with a recognized and
respectable practice of the profession, he or she will not be found to be negligent. This is
because courts do not ordinarily have the expertise to tell professionals that they are not
behaving appropriately in their field. In a sense, the medical profession as a whole is
assumed to have adopted procedures which are in the best interests of patients and are not
inherently negligent.

The court refused to certify the suit as a class action.

More about this case can be found here: ebm-first – Sandra Nette v. Stiles et al..

It is clear that the risk of stroke is not well-known to people who undergo chiropractic treatment. I do not know if this risk is required to be disclosed to patients.

Tip: @krelnik

  4 comments for “Sandra Nette, victim of chiropractic, pens book about experience

  1. Nos482
    August 19, 2013 at 7:24 PM

    McD’s has to put “careful, it’s hot” on their coffee; so I see no reason why it should be OK for chiropracters to not tell their vic…umm patients the risks of their treatments.

  2. August 19, 2013 at 8:52 PM

    Many chiropractors are practicing dangerous, and largely, unproven methods. “Subluxation” was a buzzword for me. It’s worth looking at the information offered by Dr. Homola at http://www.chirobase.org/17QA/index.html – Chiropractic treatments can be, and are useful, for certain conditions in certain circumstances.

    Dr. Homola strongly advises against the use of regular neck manipulation, and defines it as dangerous. Chiropractors are also increasingly mixing homeopathy in with their regular treatment, which is simply absurd. Back in the UK, I never really hard of anybody seeing a chiro, but here in Australia it seems that everyone goes at least once a year.

  3. Harry Adam
    August 21, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    paralysation? no such word. I think you mean paralysis.

  4. Marty
    December 1, 2013 at 2:15 PM

    In the UK, chiropractic is actually quite big. I am sure there is many Chiropractors out there who are too alternative and mix too much. Unfortunately that gives the rest of the chiropractors who are focusing on evidence based medicine, a hard job to stand against these accusations. It obviously depends on which school you attend to, but my degree will be a master in chiropractic, where the techniques and management is based on research confirming low risk, and high benefit of the chosen treatments. There has been several studies on strokes and chiropractic treatments, and the chances are the same as winning the lottery. So you can ask yourself, what came first? The stroke or the adjustment? I´ve heard stories about patients having stroke at a chiro´s office BEFORE the treatment even started, and also another where the stroke happened 3 days later.

    PubMed and Cochrane Library have all this research available for those who are interested.

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