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Canadian Chiropractor Sued
after Child Is Paralyzed
Stephen Barrett, M.D.
On July 19, 2001, Canadian stock car racer Alan Turner and
his wife Jill filed a lawsuit charging that V. Gary Dyck, D.C.,
paralyzed their 11-year-old son James by manipulating his neck
and back. The suit asks for a total of $2.75 million Canadian
dollars: $500,000 for general damages, $1,000,000 for special
damages; $1,000,000 for lost earning capacity, and $250,000 to
compensate the boy's family. The suit papers state:
- On July 24, 2000, James developed chest pains while swimming
and was taken to the Dyck's office, where his neck and back were
- On the following day, although James was worse, Dyck manipulated
- As a result of the treatment by the Defendant, James's condition
deteriorated rapidly and he was rushed to The Royal Victoria
Hospital of Barrie where he was in great distress, having lost
the use of his legs and bladder function. The pediatrician in
charge arranged for an ambulance on an emergency basis to transfer
James to The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto for an MRI
and neurosurgical intervention.
- When James arrived at the Hospital for Sick Children, a thorough
examination and assessment revealed that he had a benign spinal
cord tumor called a ganglioglioma. There was swelling in both
the tumor and cord, which caused James to become permanently
paralyzed. Emergency neurosurgery confirmed the presence of the
tumor, and subsequent pathology examination confirmed that there
had been an acute infarct of the tumor. (An infarct is a condition
in which tissue dies as a result of loss of blood supply.)
- The treatment has resulted in permanent paralysis of the
legs, weakness of one hand, and poor bowel and bladder control.
The suit papers further charge that Dyck was negligent in that:
- He should not have manipulated James in the manner he did,
or at all, without first determining the cause of the complaint
and diagnosing the problem.
- He failed to obtain x-rays or perform tests to determine
the cause of the problem and whether manipulation was contraindicated.
- Having treated the Plaintiff on his return the following
day, failed to heed the fact that his condition had deteriorated
since the prior day and further investigation should have been
conducted and emergency treatment sought.
- He failed to properly examine and diagnose the boy's condition.
- He failed to explain treatment procedures.
- He failed to properly warn about the dangers and consequences
of the treatment being administered
- He applied the wrong treatment and/or treatment was applied
- He did not carry out the treatment in a cautious, prudent,
- The treatment used was improper and an abusive procedure,
which caused the injuries to the boy.
- He should not have performed manipulation at all.
- He failed to advise about alternatives to manipulation.
Dyck, a prominent chiropractor who practices chiropractic in
Barrie, Ontario, was a member of the 35-member consensus group
that helped draft the Clinical Guidelines for Chiropractic Practice
in Canada, published in 1994 by the Canadian Chiropractic Association.
He has also been a licensing examiner for the College
of Chiropractors of Ontario, the agency that regulates the
practice of chiropractic in Ontario.
The suit was filed by attorney Stanley
M. Tick & Associates of Hamilton Ontario.
This article was posted on October
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