Chiropractic Stroke Cases.
Can Chiropractors Cause Strokes?
If you have ever suffered a stroke or neurological changes following chiropractic treatment, it may have been caused by improper chiropractic care. Chiropractic care is often sought for neck pain and headaches. Registered chiropractors are trained specialists who use their hands or small instruments to apply a sudden, controlled force to a spinal joint to improve your body's range of motion or physical function. When the force is applied to the neck, the vertebral arteries and carotid arteries are involved. Trauma to this area from manipulations may result in the formation of blood clots that travel to the brain and result in neurological damage or stroke from chiropractor care.
While some proponents of chiropractic care contend it is an effective form of treatment for lower back pain, neck pain, headaches, or stiffness, other research suggests that neck manipulation has a risk of causing an injury to the underlying arteries that may lead to a vertebral or carotid artery dissection.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured as a result of chiropractic care (or lack of care), you should consider seeing a chiropractor malpractice lawyer to discuss whether a medical malpractice claim for damages is available. Gluckstein Lawyers have the knowledge, skill and experience to assist you with these often complex and challenging claims. Together, we can seek compensation as a result of chiropractic negligence.
What is chiropractic care?
Chiropractors are health care specialists who diagnose and treat some forms of neuromusculoskeletal conditions. Chiropractors frequently use physical manipulations on the spine and other joints to provide care for these conditions instead of medicine or invasive surgical treatments.
In addition to physical manipulation, chiropractors may provide soft tissue therapy, cold laser therapy, ultrasound therapy, and advice and education on coping strategies for pain, including learning positions that provide relief.
Ontario's Chiropractic Act establishes that the College of Chiropractors of Ontario (CCO) governs the profession throughout the province. Every practising chiropractor in the province must be a registered member of the CCO and may face fines of up to $50,000 for falsely presenting themselves as registered chiropractors. Whether certified or not, chiropractors can be held liable for medical malpractice if erroneous treatment results in injury.
Chiropractic error injuries.
Under the law, registered chiropractors can assess, diagnose and treat conditions related to the spine, joints and nervous system. A chiropractor may cause an injury by incorrectly performing an adjustment. Although the law states that chiropractors are authorized to adjust the joints of the spine "beyond a person's usual physiological range of motion using a fast, low amplitude thrust," if such an adjustment is performed incorrectly or to part of the body that does not require such an adjustment, it can cause great harm to an individual.
Chiropractic induced stroke caused by cervical (carotid or vertebral) arterial dissection is the most serious form of injury from chiropractic errors. When the inner lining of the vertebral artery (near the back of the neck) is torn by a sudden movement, blood can form a clot if it enters the arterial wall. If this clot causes the blood vessel to narrow, it can restrict blood flow to the brain. Moreover, if some of the clot breaks off, it can travel to the brain and limit or completely block blood flow. While there are risks inherent with any form of chiropractic treatment and health providers are not held to the standard of perfection, if a chiropractor's negligent actions breached accepted standards of care and caused or contributed to your injury, they might be held liable for their malpractice.
Other forms of chiropractic medical malpractice.
Beyond injuries caused by improper chiropractic adjustments, a chiropractor may breach standards of care due to negligence in other ways. Other types of chiropractic medical malpractice include:
- failure to diagnose/refer - if the chiropractor fails to identify a condition in a patient requiring immediate medical attention, a patient may sustain a severe injury or the condition may worsen and cause them harm. If a patient has a medical condition that a chiropractor is not qualified to treat, the chiropractor has an obligation to refer the patient to a medical doctor.
- failure to prepare for a chiropractic manipulation - chiropractors must follow defined guidelines to ensure they have appropriately recorded and evaluated your medical history, conducted a pre-chiropractic examination, and ordered diagnostic imaging when required.
- failure to provide information necessary for informed consent - chiropractors must clearly explain the type of treatment they will provide, the risks involved with such treatment, and alternative forms of treatment available from other medical providers. If this information is not properly communicated and a patient suffers harm, the chiropractor may be liable for damages.
Pursuing a chiropractic malpractice claim.
In chiropractic malpractice claims, the law requires proof of a breach of the standard of care and poof of causation (i.e. but for the negligent act of the chiropractor, would the outcome have been different).
For example, cervical (carotid or vertebral) arterial dissection that results in a stroke can be caused by multiple factors aside from spinal manipulation. High-impact sports, blunt force injuries from automobile accidents, falls, hyper-extension of the neck from sport or exercise, and jolts from fast-moving amusement park rides increase the risk of this type of injury. Moreover, sometimes dissections spontaneously occur if a person has an underlying condition that affects connective tissue and blood vessels.
Often a person experiencing pain from another injury will seek chiropractic treatment. If the patient presents with stroke symptoms following chiropractic treatment for an injury that in itself may increase the risk of a cervical arterial dissection, the chiropractor's defence team could argue a pre-existing condition caused the stroke.
Emergency room doctors have noted anecdotally that when patients presenting with stroke symptoms come to the hospital directly from a chiropractor's office, the temporal association can be difficult to dispute.
Help when you're hurt.
When people visit chiropractors to get treatment for pain, they don't expect to be hurt even further - especially when the chiropractor's negligence causes permanent disability or other serious harm.
In the aftermath of a personal injury caused by someone else's negligence, you may ask yourself. How could a medical professional I trusted to do this? How will I pay for all the medical bills and other expenses from this injury? Who will take care of my loved ones if I can't? Where can I turn for help figuring these things out?
You should know that you are not alone. Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers has decades of experience helping people like you during these difficult periods. As one of Canada's top ranked personal injury law firms, our chiropractic error lawyers have earned a strong reputation for their skillful handling of these cases and for getting our clients results.
When you contact our team to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation initial consultation, we will listen to your story with great empathy, clearly explain your rights and options, and outline how we can determine if you have an actionable case. If we believe we can successfully represent you in this matter, we will offer to be your legal advocate at absolutely no cost to you unless we can negotiate a settlement or win an award from the court for your injuries.
A commitment to full-circle care.
At Gluckstein, we treat our clients like our own families. That means our interest in your well-being goes far beyond filing court documents and gathering evidence for your case. We care about you as a person, how your injuries have affected you and your loved ones, and how we can help you on your road to recovery and building your best life possible.
Our renowned client liaisons - some of whom have had their own personal injuries - understand what you may be feeling, anticipate and address any of your questions, and help connect you with resources that will help your healing. Even once a legal case has concluded, we always hope to forge lasting relationships with clients so we can know how you're doing. When you first meet a person at one of the most challenging times in their life, it's always an honour to see how our work has helped them get to a better place.
With little to lose and so much to gain, call us today to learn more about what Gluckstein's chiropractor malpractice lawyers can do for you and your loved ones.
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