Sunday, June 15, 2008

Alberta woman with chiropractic stroke sues bigtime

A class action lawsuit has been filed against chiropractic in Alberta. A woman was turned into a quadriplegic by a chiropractor.

More of these cases are coming to light all the time. Rather than writhing in shame the way a profession should if lives are ruined at constant spaced intervals by its own "rock star" type of human primate social grooming, chiropractic shrugs and moves on, lets the individual chiropractor take the hit and acts like it's not the profession's fault.

This is an unconscionable attitude to take. I've always thought so and I always will.

In this case, (as I understand it) the woman and her husband are hoping to take the profession itself, and the provincial government which subsidizes it to court instead.

Nobody "needs" this kind of high-neck manipulative intervention on a regular basis to maintain their "health." Never let ANYONE tell you otherwise, no matter how charming they seem. It's a lie. It's a crock. Don't let anyone twist your neck for any reason. It's dangerous.

Watch the video, Kinsinger Report on Chiropractic.

Here is more information:
1. Chirotalk thread on the topic (Chirotalk is a board run by sane ex-chiropractors which means it's anti-chiropractic)
2. Old blog post, How I really feel about chiro
3. Please sign this petition against neck manipulation. Seriously, folks, this is a malevolent and thoroughly unnecessary human behavior that should be extinguished completely. Analysis of all the hidden symbolic dominance-submission ritual content it contains can wait until after it's been de-legalized.
4. Paralyzed woman sues chiropractic for half billion
5. Alberta woman launches massive chiropractic lawsuit
6. Sandy Nette's website
7. Action for Victims of Chiropractic (UK)
8. Video (short) Is a Headache Worth Dying For?
9. Chiropractic Lawsuit, blogpost by Steven Novella at Neurologica Blog
10. Adverse effects of spinal manipulation: a systematic review (JRSM 2007)
11. A Deadly Twist (story of another survivor of chiropractic stroke)
12. Chiropractic and Stroke (blogpost by Harriet Hall, MD and skeptic)
13. Another survivor, Graham Maynard's site
14. Stroke after chiropractic (CNN)(short video of a news clip)
15. Fact sheet on the class action (7-page pdf)
16. Doctor Who? Deception by chiropractors, by David Colquhoun
17. Chiropractors resort to legal intimidation, by David Colquhoun

Here are videos from the Nette couple's website,

1. Sandy Nette's Story (about 8 minutes. Sandy speaks through a message board)
2. David Nette's Story: Part 1 (about 10 minutes. David talks about what happened at the hospital initially.)
3. David Nette's story: Part II (about 10 minutes. David talks about how he adjusted to the new situation he found himself in with his wife.)
4. David Nette's story: Part III (about 9 minutes. David talks of their shared resolve to prevent this ever happening to any other person, by launching the class action lawsuit.)

These videos are very revealing, very, very real and raw. They are a must-see.

June 20/08:

Since I put this blogpost up I've received a couple comments from one or two readers, both named "anonymous." I did not allow their comments to appear. They are glaringly pro-neck-manipulation, and I think the pro-neck-manipulators have already had far too much leeway in the realm of swaying public opinion to give them any sort of platform, however buried, obscure and humble this blog may be.

It's because of:
1. chiro training in a rationalized (as opposed to rational), deliberately propagated, bizarre belief system, combined with
2. a cultivated and honed persuasive attitude,
3. which appears aimed at propagating reckless enactment of a type of human physical social grooming (high-neck-manipulation) which is irrelevant and unnecessary in the first place,
4. against all common sense AND scientific investigation,
5. for the sole purpose of making $,

... that this woman became tetraplegic.

I have too much respect for the human nervous system to ever condone manipulation of its high-neck housing; therefore, "anonymous," I consider my prevention of your promotion of it on my blog, a positive choice - an action (however tiny) against letting myself and this blog be a vector for further perpetuation of your particular memeplex. And I happen to think it's an accumulation of tiny actions that count in life.

July 6/08:
Back in with this blog thread from Science-Based Medicine on this case.

July 17/'08
Back in with another Science-Based Medicine blog thread which deconstructs a chiro article which suggests patient visits to chiros and patient visits to medicos result in the same numbers of strokes overall.

Calgary Herald article by John William Kinsinger MD, Jun 21/08: Cracking necks destroys lives

Last night CTV's news program, W-FIVE, examined Sandy Nette's lawsuit. The program provides a glimpse into her life - it looks like she is able to use her left hand a little bit now. The viewer is introduced to a few of the others (people who had strokes shortly after chiro manipulation, some of whom recovered and others who didn't) who also are part of the class action suit.
The clip from W-FIVE

SPARC : Stroke Prevention & Atherosclerosis Research Center
Strokes From Neck Injury

Blogpost on bilateral internal carotid artery dissection from chiropractic neck manipulation.

Paciaroni M, Bogousslavsky J; Cerebrovascular Complications of Neck Manipulation.
European Neurology 2009;61:112-118 DOI: 10.1159/000180314
(If that link doesn't work, go here and click on full text or pdf.)

Feb 10/09
Harriet Hall, Chiropractic’s Pathetic Response to Stroke Concerns

August 4/09
Beware the Spinal Trap Simon Singh
“We are more possible than you can powerfully imagine”
Ben Goldacre, Bad Science blog


Anonymous said...

Hi there. I read your blog with some interest being a Physio over in the UK, who also frowns on regular chiro treatments as a "way of health". However, having suffered myself with a locked facet (debateable I know, but we all follow our models as we understand them) and had a manip on 2 separate episodes and occasions (from a chiro and a physio) with immediate and long-lasting relief I wonder about your statement that we "shouldnt let anyone twist your neck for any reason" as it is unnecessary is not too generalistic. As in this case it worked and is certainly something I have done to patients for the same therapeutic effect. I would not manip necks regularly over the course of treatment at all, as I dont think it is wise due to its high risk nature.

However, we all have our points of view and are entitled to them (if they are informed - as yours seem to be and as feel mine are) so the post is more about what would you do for a patient who comes to see you, who has woken that morning with a "locked" neck, or one who has rehabbed really well but is missing the last few degrees of rotation and is in no pain, but wants that last little bit back. What do you do for them if not manip?

Asked with respect (I hope)


UK Physio

Diane Jacobs said...

Hi Keith,
I appreciate your comment (and yes, it was respectful), but I stick by my admonition as you quoted it. I'm glad neck manipulation helped you, but I would not therefore advocate its use, and I'm glad to hear that you use it only judiciously, not holus-bolus on every neck you see, repeatedly.

I have been a PT for almost 40 years, and I've never had to do this to anyone. Peoples' neck movement comes all the way back, I've found, with (slow) manual attention to detail, and to inherent motion. Really, when the motor output changes, so does the joint mobility. I've never seen any point in doing forceful things to people or to any of their joints, but especially cervicals.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your considered reply and shedding some light for me. I guess sometimes it comes down to the results our client groups need/want as well. I have been working with elite rugby players and if they need to play then they sometimes need the quick fix. Or if someone can only afford 2 or 3 private appointments then its within their right to ask for the quick fix - though of course we can refuse, and I have refused to take the place of an osteo on more than one occasion. Having a patient say "But my osteo clicks me and fixes it!" How often? "Once a month for the last 10 years" - is astounding but yet it happens. I do my best not to become that practitioner and not to let my patients become that patient.

So nice to communicate and all the best.

Occasional Manipulator

Diane Jacobs said...

Keith, I suppose over the years people have simply learned to not expect me to do something I have no regard for. I might be a human primate social groomer, but I always work hard to be the last one people will ever need to see, and to never become a "service" doormat.

I see ordinary folk, not elite athletes. Just because certain of the human primate species are elite athletes doesn't mean they might not have a few screws loose when it comes to body issues. Furthermore it doesn't mean they have even a clue about the possible vulnerability of their own cervical arterial anatomy. Or that their practitioner will.

I'm in cash practice and usually see people for just a few times. That's all it ever should take. Once a month for ten years? - unconscionable. Glad to hear you don't operate that way.

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