Share this site! The Safe Patient Project is a Consumers Union campaign focused on eliminating medical harm, improving FDA oversight of prescription drugs and promoting disclosure laws that give information to consumers about health care safety and quality.

Not told about risks of chiropractic procedure


I was not given proper informed consent about a potentially fatal health risk. I was a healthy, fit 39 year old professional. I used chiropractic care for health maintenance. I believed it was a good thing to do for my body. On November 14, 2003, I suffered two brainstem strokes after having an upper neck manipulation. Initially, I lost speech, feeling in my right side, had a facial droop and slurred speech. When admitted to the stroke center, I found out that this is a known risk of chiropractic upper neck manipulations….Chiropractors, neurologists, etc. all know about it. However, because chiropractors are not medical doctors, they are not mandated to provide informed consent of this potentially fatal outcome. My speech, numbness, etc. improved, but my cognitive abilities are forever diminished. Since then, through the internet, I have met hundreds of other stroke survivors or family members of those who didn’t survive, from this exact same adjustment. They, too, never knew of the stroke risk. Many have cognitive injuries like I do and many are paralyzed, unable to swallow food, have balance problems, etc. I’m lucky to have survived, but I mourn the loss of my former self.