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Therapy led to trauma, stroke: MD
Stretched blood vessels likely tore victim's artery
Vanessa Lu
HEALTH POLICY REPORTER
The pathologist who took part in the autopsy of Lana Dale Lewis firmly maintained his position that he believed her fatal stroke was linked to a chiropractic neck manipulation.

Under cross-examination Friday, Dr. John Deck told a coroner's inquest that while he found a dissection or tear of Lewis' left vertebral artery inside her skull, he did not believe it occurred at the time she underwent the neck adjustment.

"The dissection is not a dissection that occurred at the time of manipulation," Deck said in response to questioning by lawyer Tim Danson, who represents the Canadian Chiropractic Association and the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, the educational facility. He argued that the dissection was likely caused by trauma from the stretching of the blood vessel.

Lewis, a 45-year-old mother of three, died in September, 1996, 17 days after having her neck manipulated by chiropractor Philip Emanuele.

The long-delayed inquest is examining whether her stroke considered rare for a woman of her age was caused by the chiropractic manoeuvre or if Lewis was predisposed to stroke due to certain risk factors, including smoking and high blood pressure.

Deck said he believed the dissection that he found was fairly recent, occurring up to three days before Lewis' death.

Even though the dissection did not occur during manipulation, Deck argued there was evidence of possible trauma because of cell changes in her artery, indicating a healing process had already taken place.

Danson questioned Deck about the theory that the tear in the outermost layer of Lewis' artery could be caused by plaque breaking off, not the force of a neck manipulation.

Deck responded that while he saw evidence of severe atherosclerosis, or plaque buildup, in Lewis' artery, he did not see any damage in the innermost layer of the artery. Any piece of plaque that ruptured would have to travel from the inside to the artery's outside layer, he said in discounting the theory.

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