Lana Dale Lewis |
Did she die for
- Court says family can't sue chiropractic executives
- says the Canadian Chiropractic Association on April 4, 2000
Chiropractors have won a round in an ongoing fight over the safety of a controversial neck-pulling
Ontario Superior Court Justice John Cavarzan has ruled that three chiropractic organizations and
their leaders can't be sued by the family of a Toronto woman who died of a stroke following
The family of Lana Dale Lewis, however, is free to pursue its lawsuit against chiropractor Philip
Emanuele, who treated the 45-year-old woman.
Cavarzan found there was ``no reasonable cause of action'' against the Canadian Memorial
Chiropractic College, the College of Chiropractors of Ontario, and the Canadian Chiropractic
- Superior Court rules in favour of chiropractic profession - CCA press release
Ontario Superior Court Justice John Cavarzan has
dismissed all claims against the three chiropractic organizations and their
representatives named in a suit brought forward by Adam Lewis, son of Lana
Justice Cavarzan characterizes the suit as "an
abuse of the process of the Court" and awarded court costs to the Canadian
Memorial Chiropractic College, the College of Chiropractors of Ontario, and
the Canadian Chiropractic Protective Association.
More on Strokes
This is the official version of the press release read at the press conference held on November, 2, 1999. It concerns the matter of the death of Adam's mother, Lana Dale Lewis, who died after she had her neck adjusted for a migraine headache in a chiropractors office. This lawsuit was launched because of statements made by, positions taken by, or by the failure of the leaders of the Ontario Chiropractic Association, the College of Chiropractors of Ontario, the Canadian Chiropractic Protective Association, and the head of the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC) to address serious problems within the chiropractic profession.
Additionally, the Canadian public, its physicians and their patients have been denied important information that could reduce the risks of strokes, injury, and deaths.
Furthermore, recent promotions of pediatric chiropractic techniques, and the sanctioning of those teachings in Ontario, at or by the chiropractic establishment has the potential to cause serious injury to children.
The treatment of children by chiropractors in Ontario, brings with it the risk of unnecessary X-rays. In addition, the anti-vaccine fanaticism by a vocal minority of chiropractors across Canada has reached a point where it may prove dangerous to the health of our communities.
Who did it?
On or about November 9, 1999, we noted that all references, and links to pediatric chiropractic treatments was deleted on the Ontario Chiropractic Association's own web site. We furthermore were unable to find references to those treatments on any other Canadian based web site run by divisions of the Canadian Chiropractic Association, or at CMCC. We wonder if instructions came down from the lawyers who are defending these individuals, and institutions to remove those references.
Press Statement by Adam Lewis
Date: November 2, 1999
Location: The Inn on the Park, Toronto
Lana Dale Lewis was our mother, our daughter, our sister and our friend.
She went to a chiropractor - "Doctor" Philip Emanuele for the treatment of
migraine headaches, After her final visit Lana complained about the manner
in which her neck had been manipulated and the intense pain which ensued.
A couple of days after this visit, Lana suffered a stroke. This was
followed a few days later by a more drastic stroke - one that proved fatal.
On September 12, 1996, four days after her 45th birthday, Lana Dale Lewis
Subsequent to Lana's death, Dr. John Deck, Neuro-Pathologist from the
Office of the Chief Coroner, Toronto, Ontario conducted an autopsy and a
detailed neuro-pathological examination and determined that no reason for
the death could be found other than the chiropractic manipulation. Upon
further inquiry, Or, Deck opined that there was no significant doubt in his
mind that the chiropractic manipulation was the cause of the fatal stroke
and cited this with a statistical confidence factor of greater than 90%.
Dr. Deck's findings were certified by Dr. Robert Huxter, Regional Coroner
for Ontario and by another Ontario coroner, Dr. Murray Naiberg.
Following the results of the autopsy and neuro-pathological study, it was
the decision of the Office of the Coroner for the Region of Metropolitan
Toronto to undertake further investigation by contacting senior officials
from the chiropractic community. At the request of Dr. Naiberg a meeting
was held in his office on December 5, 1996. Doctors' Deck and Huxter
joined Dr. Naiberg.
Representing the chiropractic community were:
- Jean Moss, President of the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, an
educational institution that awards chiropractic degrees to those who
successfully complete its curriculum,
- Jaroslaw Grod, Deputy Registrar of the College of Chiropractors of
Ontario, a licensing and governing body for chiropractors in Ontario and,
- Paul Carey, President of the Canadian Chiropractic Protective
Association, in insurance fund for Canadian chiropractors.
As evidence of their attendance at this meeting, each of these individuals
left their business cards.
According to Dr. Huxter, the purpose of this meeting was to review the
pathology and to discuss the public safety issues arising from the death.
We have been Told that according to Dr. Deck, in the course of the meeting,
the chiropractors challenged the causal connection between the neck
manipulation and the death by virtue of the six-day period between the two.
We have further boon told that Dr. Deck responded by opining that such a
delay is common and almost characteristic of the clinical course following
traumatic injury to the vertebral artery in the neck and informed the
chiropractors that there was no material doubt that the manipulation was
the cause of the fatal stroke. Both Dr. Huxter and Dr. Naiberg have
noted that, though it is unclear how severe the risk is, Jean Moss conceded
at the meeting that chiropractors are aware of the complication of
vertebral artery injury. Both Dr. Naiberg and Dr. Huxter have confirmed
that Dr. Deck clearly stated that the death was caused by chiropractic neck
manipulation and that ultimately the chiropractors accepted his findings
and agreed to officially notify all of their members to remind them of the
dangers. Dr. Naiberg has stated that it would have been his recommendation
that a coroner's inquest be convened had this undertaking not been pledged
by the chiropractors.
While we have no specific knowledge of any steps which may or may not have
been taken by any of the chiropractors present at the meeting with the
coroners in Dr. Naiberg's office, we believe that the following series of
explicit unqualified misrepresentations offer sufficient evidence that
there was no attempt to inform the chiropractic community or the general
public about the circumstances surrounding Lana's death and the potentially
fatal consequences associated with cervical neck manipulations which can be
- In September 1998, at the coroner's inquest into the death of Laurie
Jean Mathiason, a 20 year old Saskatchewan woman who also died of
chiropractic manipulation, sworn testimony was given by one Adrian Grice, a
professional colleague of Jean Moss from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic
College that, and I quote, "this is the only chiropractic death that has
ever been reported or recorded in Canada related to spinal manipulation,
This is the only time."
- On December 7, 1998 In an interview with Michael Enright of the Canadian
Broadcasting Company, when asked about the death of Laurie Jean
Mathiason, Jean Moss responded, "this was as far as we are aware, the
first chiropractic death in Canada."
- In September 1998 in an interview with CTV's Robert MacDonald, when
asked "Is this the first time you know of someone actually dying", Paul
Carey responded "Oh yes, there is no question about that, There is no
recorded death in 100 years. Chiropractic first began In Canada in
1895. There is no other death associated with chiropractic in Canada.
This is a very dramatic and unusual occurrence. What is to be focused
on is that it was so unusual and different because it hasn't happened
- In October 1998 David Paterson, President of the Canadian Chiropractic
Association stated in a press release, "This was the first such event
associated with chiropractic care in Canada In 103 years."
- On February 15, 1999 S.G. Gorchynski, the President of the Ontario
Chiropractic Association wrote a letter, which we are told, was sent to
all physicians and neurologists in Ontario. In the letter he wrote, -The
Ontario Chiropractic Association is writing this letter to family
physicians and neurologists in Ontario to place this unfortunate
occurrence, the first such incident in the history of chiropractic
practice in Canada, in perspective."
It seems clear to us that not only did the senior members of the
chiropractic community who attended the meeting in Dr. Naiberg's office on
December 5, 1996 ignore their professional and civic responsibilities to
widely disseminate the facts and findings surrounding the death of our
beloved family member Lana Dale Lewis so as to ensure the safety of the
Canadian public but they reneged on the express commitment which they made
during that meeting to do so. We have no specific knowledge of the
motives of these individuals, however, we believe that the facts speak for
themselves. In the meantime, the Canadian public has been put
unnecessarily at risk.
Canadian physicians and neurologists in the Province
of Ontario were deprived of vital information in the referral of patients
to chiropractors, and the jurors in the death of the Laurie Jean Mathiason
case were misled.
We, the family of Lana Dale Lewis cannot and will not
accept this. Accordingly, we would like to advise you, the press, of the
following steps that have been taken.
- Adam Lewis, Lana's youngest son has filed a $12 million lawsuit against
chiropractor Philip Emanuele for the wrongful death of his mother and
against Jean Moss, Paul Carey and Jaroslaw Grod and each of the
institutions which they represent.
It is anticipated that a second lawsuit
will be filed by additional family members.
As it relates to Jean Moss,
Paul Carey and Jaroslaw Grod, formal complaints regarding their conduct in
this case will be been filed with the Registrar of the College of
Chiropractors of Ontario. Copies of these complaints will be forwarded to
the Minister of Health of the Province of Ontario, the Attorney General of
the Province of Ontario and the Health Board Secretariat of the Province of
- A formal request for a coroner's inquest of inquiry into the
circumstances surrounding the death of Lana, has been sent to Dr,
William Lucas, the new Regional Coroner for Ontario.
- Given the facts contained in this statement, in conjunction with the
findings by the Canadian Stroke symposium released yesterday by Dr. John
Norris, consideration will be given to broadening the litigation to a class
action suit on behalf of all patients in Canada who have suffered strokes
or injury as a result of cervical manipulations. The findings so far in
the Canadian Stroke consortium study indicate that traumatic dissection of
the neck arteries is an underestimated cause of stroke in young people and
at present estimates are that at least two patients per month in Canada
experience a stroke following neck manipulation.
- An e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org has been established to identify
any Canadian who feels that they or a family member has been injured due
to chiropractic neck manipulation.
Petitions will also be filed with the appropriate medical and political
bodies to achieve the following measures:
- The outlawing of cervical neck manipulations in Canada.
- The termination of funding from OHIP for chiropractic manipulations
administered to children under the age of 18. In a period in which
health care funding is constricting and our health care system is
struggling to offer acceptable standards of care to the medically
needy, remarkably OHIP routinely provides funding to chiropractors who
manipulate the fragile necks and spinal columns of infants and children
for maladies such as colic and ear infections. As parents, we do not
wish a single child to be exposed to the dangers of cervical
manipulation. We fully support the statement of the Chiefs of Pediatrics
of Canadian hospitals that this support should be terminated in
children under the age of 18 who further stated that "this public fiscal
support gives parents the false impression that society endorses such
- The cessation and termination of plans by York University to institute a
doctorate degree for chiropractic students in exchange for a $25 million
stipend. In view of the recent disclosures and the associated health
risks which they reveal, we feel that this would be the appropriate
position for a public institution of higher learning.
- The granting of funding by the Ministry of Health of Ontario to the
Stroke Consortium to collect further data on the number of strokes,
deaths and other injuries due to chiropractic neck manipulation.
We thank you all for your time, Copies of this statement, the statement of
claim and the press release outlining the preliminary findings of the
Canadian Stroke symposium are available for your review. We will now
attempt to answer any questions to which legal sensitivities will allow us
The Statement of Claim is Court File 99/2365
October 8, 1999
Filed at Hamilton office
45 Main St. East.
SUPERIOR COURT OF JUSTICE
Adam Lewis - Plaintiff
Philip Emanuele, Emanuele Chiropractic Clinic
Jean A Moss, Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College
Jaroslaw P. Grod, College of Chiropractors of Ontario
Paul F. Carey, Canadian Chiropractic Protective Association
If this information in this case is of interest to you, or if you have information on other sudden deaths after neck manipulation, please respond further.
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