Chiropractic Malpractice Can Result in Strokes | DC Metro Area Medical Malpractice Law Blog

By Catherine Bertram, partner

Each year in the U.S., 22 million patients are treated by Doctors of Chiropractic,more commonly called chiropractors, or “chiropractic physicians” in some states. It is estimated that there are 52,000 chiropractors currently performing such treatment.  The average chiropractor in private practice performs as many as 50-100 manual vertebral manipulations a day, at a cost of $25 to $40 each.

The goal of chiropractic is the diagnosis and correction by manual spinal manipulation or adjustment of a chiropractic condition called “vertebral subluxation.”  Although most chiropractors claim they perform thousands of manipulations annually without any serious complications, malpractice suits have been successfully brought against chiropractors for injuries sustained as a result of improper manipulative technique and/or performance of spinal manipulation where it is contraindicated.  Patient injuries can range from headaches and post-treatment soreness to permanent complications of stroke, including left or right side paralysis, loss of bowel and bladder function,  vertebral fracture; disc herniation; rib fracture; and other serious neurologic syndromes.

According to chiropractic experts, neurologists and emergency medicine experts  I have spoken with, inexperienced, or poorly trained chiropractors have performed the spinal manipulation in a disproportionate number of cases where serious injuries have occurred.  As an experienced malpractice attorney, and Co Chair of the AAJ National Chiropractic Litigation Group, I have experience with these tragic cases and have access to national experts for review of these cases.  If you would like to talk to me about your situation you can call me (202) 822-1875 or email me directly.

About the author:

Catherine Bertram is board certified in civil trials, she is a 2012 Best Lawyer and Super Lawyer for Washington, D.C.  Ms. Bertram has over 20 years of trial experience and is unique in that she was formerly the Director of Risk Management for Georgetown University Hospital so she brings a wealth of knowledge to her practice including how hospitals should be run and what doctors and nurses can do to protect patients.   She is a partner with the firm and devotes a majority of her practice to the representation of patients and families of loved ones who have been injured or lost due to medical errors.  She lectures regularly to lawyers and health care providers, nationally and locally,  regarding patient safety, medical negligence and other related issues. She has also recently published a chapter in a medical textbook.   She can be reached by email at or by phone 202-822-1875 in her office in Washington, D.C.