Chiropractors can seem to work miracles at times for patients with ailing backs. Some people swear by them and I don’t doubt their ability to help in appropriate cases. There have been, however, some cases of horrific chiropractic malpractice, resulting in severe injury, even paralysis or death.
While chiropractors are trained in the mechanics of the body, they are not medical doctors. As is the case with perhaps too many practitioners of various alternative medical techniques, some chiropractors may overestimate the types of conditions their technique can cure. A major category of chiropractic negligence is failure to recognize the need to refer the patient to a medical doctor. There have been cases reported, for instance, of a chiropractor treating a patient for an extended period of time for symptoms that turned out to have been caused by a malignant tumor, cureable early on and fatally metastacized by the time the patient went to a physician.Chirporactors must be alert for alarming symptoms and be ready to refer a patient to a medical doctor in a timely manner if symptoms do not improve or worsen.
A second obvious category of chiropractic malpractice are cases in which manipulation has caused serious nerve damage. As in the case of the need to know when to refer patients to physicians, awareness of the patient’s condition is the best prevention of chiropractic injuries from manipulation. Patients who are eldlerly or suffering from degenerative or other serious diseases, may be more fragile and susceptible to serious injury from powerful manipulations of their cervical or spinal regions. It is a fundamental obligation of every chiropractor to know when to manipulate gently or to avoid chiropractic treatment altogether.