Connecticut Chiropractor Board Ignores Stroke Risk of Neck Procedure, Says Washington DC Injury Lawyer

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Attorney Michael A. Abelson decries the board's refusal to provide a warning to patients about neck manipulations, which are of no proven medical benefit, and are known to permanently disable or kill patients by causing a stroke.

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Lawyer Michael A. Abelson

The public has a right to be informed about the risk/benefit analysis of cervical manipulation by chiropractors, and the very real potential for stroke or death from this procedure.

Washington DC lawyer Michael A. Abelson, who has represented people severely injured by chiropractic neck manipulations, said on Wednesday that the Connecticut board that oversees chiropractors is putting patients at risk by not requiring that they inform their very own patients about the danger of strokes from those procedures.

Connecticut's Board of Chiropractic Examiners this week rejected (by a vote of 4-1) a proposal requiring chiropractors to warn their patients that manipulation of the neck can lead to various forms of stroke.

The four members who voted against the warning, all chiropractors, said the risk of stroke is too low to merit a mandatory warning.

Abelson, who handles cases of stroke induced by chiropractic manipulations, said the stroke risk from sharp movement of the neck against the vertebral and carotid arteries is well established.

"The medical literature is clear that chiropractic neck manipulations carry the risk of life-threatening vascular accidents," he said. "Had these hearings been held in a court of law, any judge would have concluded – as a matter of law, based upon the medical death certificates in evidence before the board, that chiropractic manipulations have caused young people to suffer a stroke and die.” “State medical examiners,” he said, “are not advocates for anyone and have no dog in the fight. They just tell it like it is.”

Abelson added, "The public has a right to be informed about the risk/benefit analysis of cervical manipulation by chiropractors, and the very real potential for stroke or death from this procedure."

Neck manipulation can cause a bleed in the vertebral artery or carotid artery, that will cause a clot to form and lead to a blockage of blood flow to the brain, Abelson said.

Such strokes can affect the senses, cause paralysis or death, he said. “The source of the stroke secondary to the cervical manipulation often goes undetected, because the stroke can occur well after the patient leaves the office of the chiropractor. Therefore the consequences are under-reported in the medical literature.”

The board is expected to take a final vote on the warning in three months.

Janet Levy, president of Victims of Chiropractic Abuse, does not expect the vote to change. She told the Associated Press in a March 17 article that the initial vote made it clear that the board "had no intention of protecting patients' rights."

Abelson said the issue before the board should not have been limited to a warning about the neck manipulation, but a ban on the procedure itself.

"The real concern is not simply the frequency of stroke occurrence, but rather on the risk/benefit ratio," he said. "No matter how infrequent the complication, if there is no medical benefit to the chiropractic neck manipulation procedure, the consequence of a disabling or fatal stroke cannot be risked."

The Abelson Law Firm Web site includes information about the signs and symptoms of chiropractic stroke and the causes of chiropractic malpractice.

About the Abelson Law Firm

The Abelson Law Firm, based in Washington, DC, accepts chiropractic malpractice cases from around the country. For a free review of your case, call (888) 797-4242 or visit Abelson Law Firm online.

Senior attorney Michael A. Abelson has received the Lawyer of the Year Award from the Trial Lawyers Association of Washington, D.C. and has been listed in “The Cream of the Legal Establishment” by Washingtonian magazine. Mr. Abelson has more than 35 years of legal experience. He is a leading member of the American Board of Trial Advocates and a sustaining member of the American Association for Justice. To contact the firm, call (888) 797-4242 or (202) 331-0600.

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