If you, a family member, or friend suspect you have recently been the victim of Chiropractic Malpractice I am indeed sorry that you are going through the difficulty that you now face. As you may know, Chiropractors make up the largest group of drugless physicians in the world. The Chiropractors, who follow their training, are capable of providing an excellent and often needed level of professional service. However, if you are the victim of Chiropractic Malpractice you understand that Chiropractors, like other physicians, are quite capable of providing a service which falls short of the desired standard of care.
As a Chiropractor myself, I understand both the benefits and the limitations of Chiropractic care. I am a 1982 Summa Cum Laude graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic. Palmer College, located in Davenport, Iowa, is the oldest, best-known and most highly respected Chiropractic College in the United States. While at Palmer, we studied the art and science of taking a proper history, performing proper exam procedures (which includes both physical and X-ray exams), the diagnosis of various conditions, and also how to properly give or deliver treatment when appropriate.
As a Chiropractor, I practiced full time until I attended law school. I treated several thousand patients without incident during the course of my career. Some of the injuries and conditions that I evaluated and treated included headaches, neck and back pain, arm and leg pain, which originated from the spine, as well a problems that originated from the extremities. One of the understandings that I had, while engaged in the practice of Chiropractic, was that Chiropractic was not for every condition and there were certainly times when a referral was necessary and certainly in the best interest of the patient. Often the referral was needed prior to the initiation of care and sometimes the referral was needed after an initial course of treatment was unsuccessful and there seemed to be no improvement or even a deterioration of the patient’s condition.
A visit to the Chiropractor should begin with the filling out of basic paperwork. After the paperwork a proper history would be taken and then, if appropriate, the patient would be examined and X-rayed. Based upon the findings, the Chiropractor should arrive at a working diagnosis and make certain recommendations to the patient (if a diagnosis can not be determined then certainly the Chiropractor should not be recommending any type or course of care other then to suggest the need for another evaluation by the appropriate specialist). Sometimes the recommendation was for a course of treatment and sometimes it involved giving a referral to a specialist in another health care discipline. If Chiropractic care was to undertaken, the patient was given a description of the procedures and asked to sign an informed consent prior to the beginning Chiropractic care (some practitioners will give the informed consent to the patient at the time that the initial paperwork is filled out). The informed consent may describe some of the type of injury or problem that a Chiropractor will treat and also would describe the various risks associated with the type of care that might be given to the patient. Some risks associated with the delivery of Chiropractic care are the risk of stroke, herniated disc, broken ribs, and general soreness. Though the risks are small, as with other physician treatment methods, I feel that an informed consent is necessary to allow a patient to know the risks and to take those risks into consideration when deciding to have or not have the recommended Chiropractic care.
It is my experience that most Chiropractors conduct themselves in a reasonable manner; however, that is not always the case. Like with all professions there are practitioners that are not capable, have not properly diagnosed a condition, or who have acted negligently. There are those who are too busy to take the proper time that is necessary to do the job correctly and there are those that just plain have overlooked something in spite of their good training. No matter what the reason for the deviation of the proper standard of care, I am dedicated to holding Chiropractors accountable for the harms perpetrated on those patients who deserves better. This is good for those who are victims of Chiropractic malpractice and ultimately this will be good for Chiropractors. I am only one of a very small number of Chiropractic attorneys in the country and the only one I know of who represents the victims of Chiropractic malpractice as opposed to the insurance companies who insure the Chiropractors.
Please be aware that the pursuit of a Chiropractic malpractice case, like with any malpractice case, should only be undertaken after careful consideration because the process can be difficult. Keep in mind that it is unlikely that the Chiropractic physician will admit to any wrongdoing in spite of what it looks like to you. Therefore there are certain thing to do and to not do.
What not to do:
One of the things that we would advise against is the calling of the Chiropractor to tell them you are going to sue them. The truth of the matter is that you really do not know if you are going to be able to sue them. This is something that will take some time to determine. Also, do not tell other doctors that you are going to sue the Chiropractor. We recently had a case where we found out that the Chiropractor and the Neurosurgeon were hunting buddies. Buddies don’t like to see their buddies sued! Your should refrain from speaking openly to others about your situation other than to the extent that you need to explain what happened so that you can get appropriate necessary additional care. If you think it would be important to tell a doctor what the Chiropractor did with you then go with what you think would be best. We would recommend that you not correspond with the Chiropractor, their office personnel, or their insurance company by way of emails, letters, or recorded statements.
What you should do:
Get the evaluations and treatment that you need to correct, if possible, what has happened to you. Get copies of your Chiropractic/Medical records from all sources. You should be able to have a copy of your records for your personal file. If the Chiropractor or any medical provider will not release your records then call the appropriate state regulating board (Chiropractic Board of Examiners or Medical Board of Examiners) to see what they can do to help with the record gathering process. (Do not discuss your case with the Board!) Finally, it is best to contact an attorney. I am not the only attorney in the United States who will take your case and there are many fine lawyers out there. However, when it comes to Chiropractic Malpractice there may not be many who understand, like I do, what has happened with the Chiropractic care you received.
To learn more about Chiropractic malpractice continue your search on the web and feel free to send to us any inquiry you may have about your case.