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When Chiropractic Errors Are Medical Malpractice

Updated February 22, 2023 | By Wilson Kehoe Winingham staff

Chiropractic injuries are rare, but when they occur, they often have devastating consequences. If they happen to you or someone you love, it’s important to remember that you are not alone.

Just like any other doctor, chiropractors can be sued for medical malpractice.

How Chiropractic Treatment Works

Dating back to the early days of civilization, chiropractic is a form of medicine that focuses on the proper alignment of the musculoskeletal system. It is used to treat back, neck, joint, and head pain.

A major part of chiropractic is the idea that a misalignment of the spine can influence and cause pain in other areas of the body; in other words, treating the spine can result in improved health.

Two Categories of Chiropractic Malpractice

Chiropractors treat patients by manipulating the spine and body, and malpractice occurs when they fail to adhere to the standard of care in a way that results in the injury of a patient. In general, there are two categories of malpractice that relate to chiropractic medicine: failure to diagnose and negligent spinal manipulation.

Failure to Diagnose

As doctors, chiropractors have a responsibility to their patients to appropriately diagnose and treat their injuries to the extent of their ability. Unfortunately, this standard is not always met.

Some fail to ask enough questions or run needed tests because they are certain that chiropractic treatment is the cure. Others avoid recommending that patients seek the attention of a conventional doctor, even if it is clear they should do so.

Misdiagnosing symptoms as caused by a misalignment of the spine when they are, in reality, part of another health condition could be considered medical malpractice.

Negligent Spinal Manipulation

Spinal adjustments are serious procedures, and they require expert care. Results can be catastrophic if performed incorrectly—creating new injuries, exacerbating existing injuries, or causing permanent injuries.

Examples of serious chiropractic injuries include the following:

  • Strokes (caused by ruptured or blocked arteries after a neck adjustment)
  • Herniated discs (following pressure or movement during a spinal adjustment)
  • Pinched arteries
  • Facial or body paralysis
  • Cauda equina syndrome (compression of spinal nerves)
  • Frequent headaches or vertigo
  • Numbness or tingling in limbs

These injuries, if caused by negligent chiropractic care, might fall under medical malpractice.

Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney Today

If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of chiropractic or another form of medical malpractice, contact the attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. An experienced Indianapolis medical malpractice lawyer at WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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