Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Law Blog

Chiropractor Implicated in Model’s Death, but Hospital Could be to Blame Too

Posted by Charles Gilman | Oct 27, 2016 | 0 Comments

Recent headlines have highlighted a potential connection between chiropractic treatments and the death of model Katie May after the release of a report from the Los Angeles County coroner. While media outlets seem eager to lay all blame for the model's stroke on her chiropractor, questions remain about the culpability of her employer and the hospital physicians who failed to recognize the tear in her carotid artery immediately after her fall. Making those connections can be important components of a future wrongful death lawsuit.

In February, the 34-year-old Playboy model and Instagram star “took a nasty fall” during a photo shoot in Los Angeles, and injured her neck. The pain was so intense, she went to a hospital, but doctors released her later that day. After being released from the hospital, May was still in pain. She assumed the pain was caused by a pinched nerve and sought relief through chiropractic treatment. Days later, still in pain, she went for a second chiropractic adjustment. It was after the second treatment that she suffered a vertebral artery dissection, meaning she suffered a tear in an artery leading to the brain. Most of the time when a person suffers such an injury, it is due to a pre-existing condition, according to specialists. After May was brought to a hospital for a second time, she suffered two more strokes before she was declared brain dead and taken off life support.

Even though the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association stated that manipulating the neck has been associated with cervical dissection, the organizations found no direct cause-and-effect link between neck manipulation and the risk of stroke.

Each year more than 436,000 people are brought into emergency rooms with traumatic brain injuries. They are 30 percent more likely to have a stroke afterward than people who do not suffer traumatic brain injury. Yet, the physicians who saw May at the hospital after her head injury sent her home. One in five women in the United States will have a stroke and more women die of strokes than breast cancer. Ten percent of all stroke cases occur in people younger than 45.

It is likely May was suffering a stroke during her initial visit to the hospital. Women sometimes exhibit unique symptoms when suffering strokes that doctors can overlook. That could be a fatal mistake. Time is of the essence after a stroke. Brain cell death is a direct result of a stroke. Receiving treatment within three hours of a stroke, including a stroke caused by a head injury, can dramatically improve the chance of recovery.

If a loved one has died as a result of a medical treatment, more than one party could be at fault and you may be entitled to compensation. Call the offices of trial attorneys Charles Gilman and Briggs Bedigian at 800-529-6162 or contact them online. The firm handles cases in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.

About the Author

Charles Gilman

As managing partner and co-founder of Gilman & Bedigian, it is my mission to help our clients recover and get their lives back on track. I strongly believe that every person who is injured by a wrongful act deserves compensation, and I will do my utmost to bring recompense to those who need and deserve it.


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