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