The sudden death from a stroke in February of a former Playboy model, known to her two million social media followers as the “Queen of Snapchat,” has been ruled accidental in an October report by the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office.
However, in issuing its report, the coroner’s office attributed the stroke to a chiropractic procedure the victim had undergone several hours earlier. That finding again raises concerns about the safety of chiropractic procedures, which some have called dangerous and unnecessary.
Promising Career, Popular Model
Katie May, age thirty-four, had worked as a model and gained success with appearances in several ad campaigns and magazine features, including for Playboy, Esquire, GQ, and Sports Illustrated. She was also a popular social media personality. At the time of her death, it had been reported by some that she’d fallen during a photoshoot and injured her neck, which led to the stroke and her death.
She had, however, only told her online fans that she’d pinched a nerve in her neck during that January shoot, and that she planned to see a chiropractor about the problem. After a February 1 chiropractic visit, she began experiencing numbness and dizziness, and by the time she reached the hospital, she was found to be suffering a massive stroke. This led to major brain damage. Her family took her off life support on February 4.
The coroner’s report, completed seven months later, blamed her stroke and subsequent death on a tear in one of the important arteries that supplies blood to the brain. This tear, the report concluded, had been accidentally caused during May’s chiropractor visit.
Chiropractic Injury and Death
It’s estimated that about 20 million Americans visit a chiropractor each year. Most of them leave satisfied and in good health, but for years concerns have been raised about the safety of some chiropractic procedures.
In particular, the injury suffered by May, known as a vascular dissection, has been highlighted as a dangerous and sometimes fatal side effect of energetic chiropractic neck manipulations. The American Heart Association has officially cautioned against neck manipulation procedures since at least 2014 because of a potentially increased stroke risk, while other sources have determined that the risks outweigh the benefits, specifically because data is difficult to find on the true danger posed by these procedures.
The American Chiropractic Association counters that their practitioners are properly trained and that they perform procedures safely, but that all treatments pose some risk. They note that even commonly prescribed medicines, such as ibuprofen, present a risk of stroke to users.
Chiropractors and Medical Malpractice
Chiropractors might not be medical doctors, but they are trained and licensed healthcare practitioners. As such, they owe the same duty of care to their patients as any other healthcare professional.
When the mistreatment of a patient or the misapplication of a procedure causes an injury such as a stroke or—in extreme cases such as Katie May’s—death, that professional needs to be held accountable. An injured patient or her family would hold a doctor responsible for harming someone in their care, and chiropractors should be held to the same standard.
New York City Medical Malpractice Lawyers
If you or someone close to you has been injured by a procedure performed by a chiropractor or another healthcare professional, it’s important to pursue compensation to cover the costs of additional medical treatments, lost wages and income, and any unnecessary suffering caused by that injury.
Greenstein & Milbauer, LLP understands this kind of personal injury claim, and we’re ready to assist you. Call us today at 1-800-VICTIM2 (842-8462) or complete the form below to set up a free consultation to discuss your case.