A routine trip to the chiropractor may have caused a 30-year-old man’s death.
Jeremy Youngblood, of Ada, Oklahoma, was reportedly a healthy young man before he visited his chiropractor.
Jeremy died of acute cerebellar infarction due to manipulation of the neck. Coroners say it was brought on by the visit to the chiropractor, reports FOX 31.
“The majority of the strokes happen in the vertebral arteries in the back,” Dr. Bill Kinsinger, President of the Oklahoma Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision said. “The stress on that artery at that segment where it makes that turn against the bone is most susceptible to stroke.”
Kinsinger is an outspoken critic of chiropractic therapy. He said that when a chiropractor adjusts your neck, a tear can be caused in the artery. Then, when your body tries to fix it by creating a clot, the clot can break off and travel until the vessels become too small. That action can cause a stroke to occur.
“It’s not that these strokes are happening everyday; they’re not,” Kinsinger said. “But they are happening. And they’re usually happening to young, otherwise healthy people who should have never been injured for benefit of nothing.”
Jeremy’s mother, Linda Youngblood, is distraught over her son’s death.
“I try not to think about how it happened. I have nightmares and all kinds of things running through my mind that I don’t want running through my mind,” Linda said.
Jeremy’s stroke occurred in the chiropractor’s office, and his family says no one in the office called 9-1-1, reports KFOR. Instead, they called his father Lynn, a bus driver, and told him to come and get his son.
“It took all of us to get him off the table and onto the bus and get him to the emergency room he lay there for 6 hours,” Lynn said.
Jeremy was flown to Oklahoma City for emergency treatment. He passed away in the hospital.
Lynn will never forget his son’s final moments.
“I don’t know what he saw but whatever it was made me happy because he reached up. Then he closed his eyes and that was it,” Lynn said.
Kinsinger likens chiropractors to snake oil salesman.
“We can talk all day about the lack of evidence of the benefit of neck manipulations for neck pain but beyond that they use neck manipulation for things that have nothing to do with the neck. Low back pain, knee pain and all sorts of organic illnesses like ear infections in babies, colicky babies, P.M.S in women,” Kinsinger said. “Bee sting therapy, snake oil salesman. There’s no more to it than that.”
Chris Waddell, President of the Oklahoma Board of Chiropractic Examiners, sees things very differently.
“I think if the benefits weren’t there, people wouldn’t utilize our services. They know what works and what doesn’t,” Waddell said.
A report called the Cassidy Study, done in Canada years ago, suggests limited stroke risk, and Waddell agrees that the data does not suggest visiting a chiropractor can kill.
“We found no evidence of excess risk of VBA stroke associated chiropractic care compared to primary care,” the report states. “For those 45 years of age and older there was no association.”
But the report clearly states for those under 45 years old there is a greater risk.
“For those under 45 years of age, there was an increased association between chiropractic visits and VBA stroke,” the reports states.
“Strokes happen every day but they usually happen to old people. When the risk is death or stroke in a young individual we shouldn’t be doing it at all,” Kinsinger said.
Reports and opinions aside, Linda Youngblood knows she will never see her son again.
“This is something a mother will never get over, I will never ever get over it. I cry every day. It’s with me every day. It’s never going to go away,” Linda said.
The Oklahoma Chiropractors Association released a statement following Jeremy’s death.
The Oklahoma Chiropractors Association wishes to express its deepest condolences to the family of Jeremy Youngblood. The loss or harm of any patient is a very disturbing circumstance that medical professionals have struggled with throughout history. Unfortunately, there is no single form of medical care without risks.
Oklahoma Chiropractors are proud to provide thousands of Oklahoman’s drug free medical care daily. The safety of chiropractic care is evident by the lowest medical malpractice insurance rates of any licensed medical profession.