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Man broke his neck during chiropractic treatment in York

John LawlerImage copyright
Lawler Family

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John Lawler died after treatment at 1st Chiropractic Clinic in York

A man who broke his neck when being treated by a chiropractor shouted "You are hurting me," the widow said in an inquiry.

John Lawler, 80, was attending chiropractic in York in August 2017 when he said he could not feel his arms and became a "rag doll".

Lawler was taken to York Hospital and then transferred to Leeds General Ward, where he died the next day.

A police investigation into his death ruled out any criminal charges.

Joan Lawler, who gave evidence, said her husband was a healthy and fit man.

They had booked a series of chiropractic treatments after an initial evaluation with Dr. Arleen Scholten.

"She said her shoulders and back were out of line and with gentle manipulation she could make her life so much happier," Lawler said.

The first two consultations were good and returned for a third consultation on Friday, August 11, Lawler added.

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Paramedics were called to chiropractic in York when Lawler became ill

"It started on his shoulders and went around his body … Then the table fell over and he shouted," You're hurting me. You're hurting me. I can't feel my arms, "Lawler said. to the inquiry.

She said Dr. Scholten continued to treat her husband for a moment, but then realized he was not answering and asked him to turn around.

He didn't respond and the chiropractor maneuvered him into a chair.

"She put John in the chair, but he was like a rag doll," Lawler said.

"He wasn't moving and wasn't talking."

She said that when the paramedics arrived, Dr. Scholten did not inform them of the table drop element during treatment, only that she was applying "gentle manipulation".

He was initially taken to York Hospital, where he was informed to the family that he had a broken neck.

"They said that, unfortunately, John was paraplegic and needed to be transferred to a special unit," Lawler said.

The next day at Leeds General Ward, he was told that Lawler had several spinal injuries and a broken neck and would need a 14-hour operation to install a cervical collar.

It would be a traumatic operation and they said "it could kill him anyway," she said.

She said that during this discussion her husband made some murmuring noises.

"We decided he was saying no [to the operation]," she said.

"There was nothing they could do. He stayed there and just disappeared," he added.

The inquiry continues.

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