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    Why did the Alberta Society of Radiologists
    SAY NO to chiropractors?

    Background and other stories about chiropractic tragedies from Alberta


    PAINFUL TREATMENT ... Barbara Hofforth says her sore neck led to brain damage after treatment by a chiropractor. She's considering legal action.

    Tuesday, November 3, 1998


    An Olds woman is considering suing an Innisfail chiropractor, alleging she suffered brain damage following a neck adjustment she received in his office. Barbara Hofforth, 33, claims she suffered a bilateral vertebral artery dissection, which led to a warning stroke and permanent brain damage at the base of her brain stem within moments of having her neck adjusted by chiropractor George Herman.

    Hofforth and her husband Pete Lauzon went to Herman's office Sept. 25 to get treated for sore shoulders. Hofforth alleges she almost immediately felt nauseous after the neck adjustment. She made it to the waiting room where she planned to wait for her husband, but before he could be tended to by Herman, he was beckoned by the receptionist.

    "When I saw her she was completely grey and on her hands and knees trying to crawl to the bathroom to throw up," says Lauzon. "She kept telling me, 'Pete, I'm so scared. I can't see, I can't see.' "

    Herman's office staff called an ambulance and when the paramedics arrived, they could not find a pulse. "I thought I was dying and on my way to heaven because all I could see was white fog," said Hofforth, who has two young daughters. Herman acknowledged that Hofforth fell ill almost immediately after his treatment.

    "We haven't received our reports back from the Calgary hospital, but she was taken from the office to the hospital here," said Herman, referring to the Innisfail hospital. "I've never had a situation like that before," said Herman, who has been practising for 38 years. The doctor at the Innisfail hospital treated Hofforth's nausea symptoms for seven hours and then sent her home.

    It wasn't until her husband's father heard of her symptoms and recalled reading about a recent case in Saskatoon where a woman died following having a neck adjustment that Hofforth sought further care.

    Laurie Jean Mathiason, 20, died at Royal University Hospital on Feb. 4 one day after suffering a massive stroke while on her chiropractor's table, where she had just received a neck adjustment. An inquest which was held into Mathiason's death received nation-wide publicity.

    Hofforth, who still has troubles holding a pen, eventually was sent to Foothills Hospital by her family doctor where she received an MRI -- or scan of the brain -- and an angiogram. Dr. Doug Zochodne, a neurologist and professor of clinical neurosciences at the University of Calgary, was the on-call neurologist that day.

    Zochodne says Hofforth suffered a bilateral vertebral artery dissection, possibly as a result of the therapy. "She had a warning stroke from the chiropractic neck manipulation and then a small area of brain stem infarction, (or brain damage)" said Zochodne last night.

    PAINFUL TREATMENT ... Barbara Hofforth says her sore neck led to brain damage after treatment by a chiropractor. She's considering legal action.

    Copyright 1998, The Calgary Sun, Sun Media Corporation - reproduced with permission


    Wednesday, November 4, 1998


    Alberta radiologists say recent examples of chiropractic patients suffering strokes after having their necks adjusted proves their decision to refuse children X-rays at the request of chiropractors is sound.

    The Alberta Society of Radiologists unanimously passed a motion at its annual meeting recently recommending that all Alberta radiologists refuse to give children under the age of 18 X-rays asked for by chiropractors.

    The decision, which isn't binding and can't be enforced, refers to a statement by the chiefs of pediatrics of Canadian hospitals saying chiropractic treatment or associated X-rays can be harmful to children.

    "Recent tragedies including the death of a 20-year-old Saskatoon woman as a result of a neck adjustment by a chiropractor and an Olds woman who suffered a mild stroke after visiting her chiropractor reaffirms the decision made by the Alberta Society of Radiologists at their annual general meeting to limit the X-rays provided to chiropractors," said Calgary radiologist, Dr. Marvin Levant.

    "Neck adjustments can tear the vertebral arteries which supply blood to the brain," said Levant, adding too many X-rays can cause cancer in children.

    Allan Halowski, president of the College of Chiropractors of Alberta said he "doesn't understand" the reasoning behind the radiologists' decision. "Seven out of 10 times we don't X-ray children who come to see us," said Halowski. "We don't take X-rays just for the sake of taking X-rays," said Halowski, who added that the radiologists' decision is "political."

    Yesterday the Sun revealed that Barbara Hofforth, 33, of Olds suffered brain damage following a neck adjustment from a chiropractor on Sept. 25. Within moments, she became nauseous, was blinded and couldn't walk as a result of a mild stroke.

    Copyright 1998, The Calgary Sun, Sun Media Corporation - reproduced with permission

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