New York City Chiropractic Errors Lawyer
Chiropractic is referred to as alternative medicine by some and pseudoscience by others. Regardless, most states license and regulate chiropractors, and it is estimated that more than 35 million people seek treatment from a chiropractor every year. Chiropractors are not medical doctors (M.D.s), but they do earn a D.C. degree certifying them as a “Doctor of Chiropractic.” This degree is required of all licensed chiropractors in New York.
Chiropractic is a profession. Chiropractors are regulated by the state, and they have their own regulatory bodies to enforce professional standards. As health care professionals, chiropractors are held to the standards of their profession and can be disciplined for failing to meet those standards. They can also be held liable for medical malpractice when they practice below the applicable standard or otherwise cause injury to their patients through negligence or incompetence.
Attorney Michael Gunzburg is a New York personal injury lawyer who holds all healthcare professionals liable for medical malpractice when they injure their patients through their errors or omissions. See below to learn more about chiropractic and the ways chiropractors can commit malpractice. If you have suffered an injury at the hands of a chiropractor in New York City, call Michael Gunzburg, P.C. for a free consultation regarding a potential claim for compensation.
What Do Chiropractors Do?
According to the New York Office of the Professions, “Chiropractors are independent health care professionals who treat many conditions as they relate to the spine, emphasizing the dependency of health on the correct functioning of the central nerve system. Chiropractors adjust or manipulate misaligned vertebrae (the bones of your spinal column) to restore correct functioning of your central nerve system. They may also work with other parts of your body affected by the misaligned vertebrae. Chiropractors may do this by using their hands and various mechanical and electrical instruments.”
The theory of chiropractic, which goes back to the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, alleges that the vertebrae of the spine get out of place, and this displacement is the cause of many diseases as well as headaches and pain disorders. Chiropractors believe they can relieve pain and cure disorders by manual manipulation or “subluxation” of the spine, also known as spinal adjustments. They believe that by aligning the spine, they relieve pain and the pressure on nerves that might be the root cause of many different ailments.
How Do Chiropractors Commit Malpractice?
The first rule of any medical professional is, “do no harm,” yet negligent manipulation of the spine can break a rib or fracture a vertebra. Spinal manipulation can put pressure on a nerve that wasn’t there before or aggravate a herniated disc and cause permanent nerve damage.
Manipulation combined with rotation and extension of the cervical spine could also cause a cervical arterial dissection, also known as vertebral artery dissection, or VAD. Much like whiplash in a car accident, a rapid twist of the neck can cause a painful and debilitating injury; the risk of VAD, however, is much more serious. An arterial dissection is a medical emergency that ends in death in approximately one out of every ten cases. A rapid twist of the neck by a chiropractor could also cause a stroke.
Another way chiropractors can commit malpractice is by a failure to diagnose a serious medical condition or a failure to refer the patient to medical care for a diagnosed condition. A chiropractor might take x-rays or learn of symptoms that indicate a serious disorder that must be immediately treated with medication, surgery or referral to a specialist.
Chiropractors can also be guilty of medical malpractice for performing manipulations without first getting the patient’s informed consent. Informed consent means the patient approves of the treatment after being told of both the benefits and the risks involved, as well as the risks and benefits of alternative treatments or skipping treatment altogether. For instance, chiropractors might not tell you of the possibility of a stroke or arterial dissection before they manipulate your neck, and many people might not choose to let a chiropractor do that to them if they know of the risk.
Get Relief From the Pain Caused by Chiropractic Malpractice in New York City
Chiropractors can provide genuine pain relief to patients by using methods similar to what physical therapists do. When they go beyond the science or the standards of their profession, however, they can do more harm than good, including failing to properly treat a serious health condition or causing physical harm through their actions. If you believe a chiropractor hurt you through negligence or incompetence, you have a right to compensation for the damage caused, and New York City medical malpractice lawyer Michael Gunzburg can help you obtain it. In Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn or Queens, call Michael Gunzburg, P.C. at 212-725-8500 for a free consultation about your potential claims.