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Chiropractor Malpractice Lawsuit in P.G. County

Huff v. Multi-Specialty Health Care

Doctor treating PatientThis a medical malpractice claim is a rarity: a lawsuit filed against a chiropractor in Prince George's County. It was filed in Health Claims Arbitration on April 5, 2017 and it is the 161st medical malpractice case filed in Maryland in 2017. It is the first lawsuit filed against a chiropractor in Maryland this year.

Summary of Plaintiff's Allegations

Plaintiff goes to Multi-Specialty Healthcare for chiropractic therapy after being a car accident almost two months earlier. During her initial evaluation with defendant licensed chiropractor, he indicates that she would have treatments three times a week for three to four weeks until another evaluation could be done. He also notes that she has a spinal cord implant.

Defendant physician is assigned to the woman's case and he evaluates her. He finds that she has a spinal cord stimulator implanted. He indicates that she should continue with chiropractic and physical therapy three times per week, with emphasis being on her cervical spine.

A month later, when she goes for her appointment, the woman finds that defendant chiropractor, her regular chiropractor, is out of the office. A rotating chiropractor for Multi-Specialty is assigned to treat her. He asks about her normal treatment, and she tells him that she receives heat and rubbing on her neck and back. However, while treating her, defendant rotating chiropractor performs a neck adjustment. Plaintiff claims this causes the woman's spinal cord stimulator to dysfunction.

Plaintiff has to undergo another surgery in order to have a new spinal cord simulator placed, which is very painful. She files this claim, alleging that she was never informed of the serious risks involved with receiving chiropractic treatment due to her spinal cord simulator implant, and that there was no alert system in place that would alert rotating doctors or chiropractors about the necessity for low intensity treatment only.

Additional Comments
  • There is no question that the stimulator's lead can move during chiropractic care. But it is not a breach of the standard of care to give chiropractic treatment to a patient with a spinal cord stimulator, at least not in every case.
  • So the question is why was this manipulation a breach of the standard of care in this patient? This question has to be explained by the standard of care expert. Plaintiff is right, based on the complaint, the chiropractor should have ignored the admonition to not provide chiropractic care without clearance. But is not a breach of the standard of care unless a chiropractor should have manipulated that patient under those circumstances.
  • Plaintiff is also going to need an orthopedics expert to explain why the chiropractors care caused the injury.
  • Another big question in this case is going to be damages. Plaintiff was required to get another stimulator. You would expect more damages to justify the economic cost of a malpractice claim.
  • It is hard to see what the claim is against the medical doctor sued in the Complaint. The chiropractor cannot testify as a standard of care expert and the allegation against him are unclear.
  • The informed consent count could have some teeth. If there is a risk of an adjustment causing a problem
  • Prince George's County
  • Multi-Specialty Health Care
  • Two chiropractors
  • A physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor
  • Failing to disclosure the inherent and substantial risks involved in using chiropractic methods to treat patients with spinal cord simulator implants
  • Failing to evaluate and assess the plaintiff to determine appropriateness of subjecting plaintiff to chiropractic procedures, including cervical manipulation
  • Performing medically unnecessary chiropractic procedures on plaintiff
  • Failing to take a complete history of plaintiff prior to treatment
  • Failing to adequately alert rotating chiropractor of the presence of plaintiff's spinal cord simulator and to adjust treatment to low intensity therapy
  • Failing to acknowledge the spinal cord simulator in the plaintiff's medical notes
Specific Counts Pled
  • Negligence - Medical Malpractice
  • Respondeat Superior
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