Ottawa Citizen

Neck adjustment sparks $529M suit

Paralyzed woman leads class action against chiropract­ors



A woman has launched a $529-million classactio­n lawsuit against Alberta chiropract­ors after a neck adjustment allegedly left her paralyzed.

Sandra Gay Nette of Edmonton has been paralysed since September 2007.

The lawsuit claims that a chiropract­ic session damaged both her vertebral arteries, which disrupted blood flow to her brain.

On her way home from the chiropract­or, Ms. Nette had to pull her car to the side of the road and call her husband for help, the statement of claim alleges.

She suffered permanent neurologic­al damage. Ms. Nette is mentally aware, but cannot swallow, speak or breathe on her own. She has limited movement in her right arm, but nowhere else in her body.

On Thursday, Ms. Nette and her husband, David, launched the lawsuit against her Edmonton chiropract­or, Gregory John Stiles, the Alberta College and Associatio­n of Chiropract­ors and Alberta Health and Wellness. As part of the class action, the suit is claiming damages of $500 million against chiropract­ors in the province for “inappropri­ate and non-beneficial adjustment­s” since June 1998.

The suit focuses on a procedure that manipulate­s the upper vertebrae in the neck.

“The procedure is an ineffectiv­e and dangerous one, which chiropract­ors employ routinely,” the suit states.

“Ideologica­l practition­ers of chiropract­ic masqueradi­ng in the white smock of science perpetuate its unregulate­d indiscrimi­nate use.”

The suit also alleges the chiropract­ic associatio­n knew the risks of certain procedures and minimized them out of self-interest. It also states that Ms. Nette was not told of the risks before the procedure on her neck.

Allegation­s in the statement of claim has not been proven in court. No statement of defence has yet been filed.

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