While chiropractic errors are less discussed in the medical malpractice arena, they do still happen. Chiropractic care is an alternative medical treatment that uses non-invasive, hands-on spinal manipulations to enhance joint mobility. The treatment goal is to restore range of motion and reduce muscle spasms by providing controlled, manual force to the joints. It is utilized for ailments such as acute and chronic back pain, neck pain, headaches, and whiplash related injuries. According to the American Chiropractic Association, chiropractic care is widely recognized as one of the safest medical treatment alternatives for various musculoskeletal issues. Side effects from spinal manipulation are generally considered benign and typically resolve in a short time. There can be some discomfort, including stiffness or soreness. It is touted as an effective and drug-free alternative to traditional medicine to prevent, treat, and maintain health. But what happens when things go wrong? At this point, the patient should seek an experienced medical malpractice attorney, such as Orlando lawyer Jeff Badgley at Badgley Law Group.
The chiropractic industry is the most popular complementary alternative to traditional medical care offered in the United States. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, chiropractic is used to treat an estimated 74% of Americans with back pain. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2016, reported an estimated 47,400 Chiropractors were practicing in our nation.
Risks associated with chiropractic adjustments from spinal manipulation include:
- Herniated discs or the worsening of an existing disc herniation can cause long-term pain, numbness, or weakening of extremities. Severe cases may require surgical intervention.
- Cauda Equina Syndrome is the compression of nerves in the lower spinal column. It disrupts the lower extremities’ motor and sensory function and bladder. This condition leads to incontinence and paralysis.
- Chiropractic-induced strokes due to vertebra artery occlusion, dissection, or rupture occur by manipulating the neck, causing a lack of oxygen to the brain.
- There can be an exacerbation of a current condition or extensive damage due to excessive force used to manipulate joints.
The World Health Organization reports that spinal manipulations can cause personal injury for individuals with specific comorbidities. Examples include osteoporosis, cancer of the spine, bone abnormalities, bone infections or fractures, and circulation or nervous system conditions.
Failure to Diagnose
Medical malpractice law holds chiropractic practitioners accountable to a standard of care. That is, what a prudent Doctor of Chiropractic would do in the same or similar circumstances. There are significant numbers of medical malpractice claims against chiropractors for medical errors due to failure to diagnose. Perhaps a chiropractor failed to conduct a proper exam or obtain a thorough history and physical before treatment. Failure to order appropriate diagnostic imaging or neglecting to refer a patient to a medical doctor for pathology viewed on an x-ray can cause a delay in life- saving treatment. Or they may have been remiss in educating patients about the risks of treatment. These are all acts of medical negligence and breaches of duty.
Elements of Chiropractic Malpractice Lawsuits are:
· A Chiropractor has a duty to provide reasonable care in a doctor-patient relationship.
· The Chiropractor has breached their professional duty by providing a sub-standard level of care.
· Injuries or wrongful death occurred because of a breach of duty in treatment rendered.
· Due to negligence and a breach of standard of care, the patient incurred physical, emotional, and financial damages.
Quality Legal Representation for Victims of Medical Malpractice
We expect and trust our healthcare providers to act reasonably and professionally. When they breach this duty, there can be devastating and life-long consequences. If you or a loved one has sustained an injury or wrongful death due to a chiropractor’s negligence, contact The Badgley Law Group to assess your claim. Chiropractic health care providers should be held accountable for their acts of negligence and subsequent damages. Medical errors due to poor judgment, a lack of skills, misdiagnosis, and failure to coordinate with needed medical providers is preventable. Our experienced medical malpractice lawyers have the resources to craft strategies for negotiation or courtroom litigation, to get you the compensation that you deserve.