Patient requires emergency surgery after improper spinal manipulations

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Case in Point

July 19, 2011

Patient requires emergency surgery after improper spinal manipulations 

The patient, who may require future back surgery, alleged that a chiropractor who treated her performed improper manipulations and failed to ascertain the extent of her underlying back problems. The jury awarded $805,000, including $500,000 in punitive damages. Chandler v. Beaver Chiropractic & Spinal Rehab.

Cheryl Chandler suffered from lower back pain. She sought treatment from chiropractor Narry Beaver, who examined Chandler, took X-rays, and performed spinal manipulations. When Chandler suffered additional pain after the treatment, Beaver allegedly told her this was normal. After further manipulations the next day, Chandler suffered severe pain. She went to a hospital emergency room several hours later and was subsequently diagnosed as having a herniated disk at L5-S1.

Chandler underwent an emergency lumbar laminectomy that night and required postoperative rehabilitation. She continues to suffer from lower back pain and may require future back surgery.

Chandler sued Beaver and his practice, alleging the chiropractor performed improper manipulations and failed to conduct a thorough orthopedic examination, take diagnostic-quality X-rays, or otherwise ascertain the nature and extent of her underlying back problems. Suit also charged that the defendants had altered Chandler’s medical records.

The jury awarded $805,000, including $500,000 in punitive damages. The parties later settled for an undisclosed amount greater than the verdict.

Citation: Chandler v. Beaver Chiropractic & Spinal Rehab, No. 2008-CP-46-4328 (S.C., York Co. Com. Pleas Mar. 2011).

Plaintiff counsel: AAJ member Robert V. Phillips, Rock Hill, South Carolina; and Dan Luginbill, Bamberg, South Carolina.

Plaintiff experts: Alan H. Bragman, chiropractic care, Decatur, Georgia; and Ravinda Shitut, orthopedics, St. Louis.

Defense experts: Rick Sanford, chiropractic care, Columbia, South Carolina; and Carl J. Hiller, orthopedics, New Bern, North Carolina.


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