Vertebral artery dissection (VAD) occurs when there are small tears in the artery that passes through the upper vertebrae of the neck (the cervical spine), which can cause changes in blood flow to the brain and increase a person’s risks of stroke, disabling injuries, and wrongful death.
Although VAD can be caused by various accidents that cause injury to the cervical spine, a number of medical studies associate arterial dissection with chiropractic manipulation of the neck. These studies also suggest that VAD is commonly undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, putting chiropractic patients at great risk of severe harm.
If you or someone you love were diagnosed with vertebral artery dissection after a chiropractic adjustment, or if you believe medical professionals failed to diagnose a stroke, you may have grounds to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit. Our award-winning attorneys at The Becker Law Firm are available to review your case and determine how we can help anywhere in Cleveland or the state of Ohio.
Why Choose The Becker Law Firm?
The Becker Law Firm is led by Attorney Michael F. Becker, a Certified Civil Trial Lawyer who has earned national recognition for his work representing the injured and wronged. Over 40+ years in practice, Attorney Becker and our firm have excelled in complex malpractice claims across Ohio and the U.S., and have cultivated a proven record of success. This includes:
- Over $500 million in compensation recovered for clients.
- Ohio record for the largest personal injury settlement for a single plaintiff.
- Multiple eight-figure settlements for victims of medical negligence.
- Recognition Among the Tier 1 “Best Law Firms” by U.S. News & World Report.
The Becker Law Firm is comprised of proven and experienced lawyers, including attorneys who are Certified Civil Trial Specialists and Registered Nurses capable of drawing from their expertise. If you have a potential case, call (440) 252-4399 or contact us online for a free consultation.
Chiropractic Malpractice: Neck Manipulation & VAD
Though rare, high-velocity neck manipulation performed by a chiropractor can result in a vertebral artery dissection, which can lead to stroke, permanent disability, or even death.
While chiropractic adjustment of the neck is meant to restore range of motion, it can pose risks of tearing the inner lining of the vertebral artery, one of the four major arteries that supply blood to the brain.
When a tear occurs, changes to blood flow in vessels leading to the brain can increase risks of stroke – either due to blood clots in the arterial wall breaking off and obstructing blood flow or narrowing of the vessel. Patients with VAD associated with chiropractic cervical manipulation may experience symptoms such as:
- Neck pain
- Dizziness or loss of balance
- Blurred vision
- Ataxia (i.e. slurred speech, incoordination, etc.)
- Mild numbness and weakness of the extremities
Because VAD can pose risks of cerebellar stroke, inner ear or vestibular nerve dysfunction, vertebrobasilar insufficiency, and fatal stroke (infarction or hemorrhage), chiropractors should inform patients of the risks and obtain consent prior to performing any high-velocity neck manipulation and ensure they meet accepted standards of their profession when performing adjustments.
Duty of Care: Did Your Chiropractor Fail to Meet the Standard?
Like medical physicians, chiropractors are held to standards of their profession, and they have a legal duty to provide a reasonable degree of care when treating patients and performing adjustments. If they fail to meet these standards and victims suffer injuries such as arterial dissection and / or stroke as a result, they may be held liable for the resulting damages.
Medical malpractice lawsuits against chiropractors – and claims alleging VAD or stroke due to cervical manipulation – can be highly complex. Patients may not make the connection between their adjustment and the injuries which led to their harm and losses, and they may not experience severe symptoms until days, weeks, or even months after their adjustment.
At The Becker Law Firm, our team closely investigates the circumstances surrounding our client’s injuries to determine how and when their underlying condition occurred, and whether there are grounds to pursue legal action against a liable party. In medical malpractice cases, this often requires collaboration with relevant experts – including medical and chiropractic specialists – who can help determine what happened, and whether treating professionals failed in some manner to meet accepted standards.
Vertebral Artery Dissection Misdiagnosis
While early intervention and treatment can prevent strokes or reduce the severity of damage they cause, failures to diagnose stroke are among the most common claims made in medical malpractice cases.
Victims of misdiagnoses and failures to diagnose may claim treating medical professionals failed to recognize stroke symptoms and warning signs, failed to perform appropriate tests, or failed to administer essential treatments, among other allegations. This is particularly true of ischemic or hemorrhagic strokes that occur in the cerebellum, brainstem, or posterior region of the brain, and strokes that happen to younger patients.
In some cases, physicians may fail to diagnose a stroke by not properly evaluating patients or not responding appropriately when told that the patient recently had a chiropractic adjustment, was involved in a motor vehicle accident, or suffered a neck injury that could potentially cause arterial dissection.
As with many medical malpractice cases, determining whether physicians and other health care providers failed to meet the standard of care when treating you or your loved one is a highly fact-specific inquiry. These cases require extensive investigation and medical insight to determine if a standard was missed and whether patients would have had better outcomes had they been diagnosed and treated appropriately.
At The Becker Law Firm, we can help patients closely examine what happened, what treating health professionals said and did, and whether there may be grounds for pursuing legal action against a chiropractor, a Primary Care Provider, an ER physician, and / or other medical professionals.
What Damages Can Victims of Arterial Dissection / Chiropractic Malpractice Recover?
Victims who suffer harm and losses due to chiropractor malpractice, arterial dissection, and / or a missed or delayed diagnosis may have the right to recover financial compensation. While every case is different, compensation may be awarded for:
- Medical expenses
- Future medical needs
- Rehabilitation and therapy
- Permanent disability, cognitive deficits, and impairment (i.e. vision loss, aphasia, hemiplegia, etc.)
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
Call For a FREE Consultation: (440) 252-4399
At The Becker Law Firm, our award-winning lawyers serve victims and families across Ohio after they’ve suffered losses due to medical malpractice – including malpractice committed by chiropractors who perform cervical manipulation and physicians who fail to diagnose stroke. We also welcome referrals from attorneys nationwide who need a proven team and resources to handle challenging claims.
To speak with an attorney about your potential case and how our firm can help, contact us. Consultations are FREE and confidential.