Baby's neck broken by 'unsatisfactory' chiropractic

ninemsn staff
10:48am September 29, 2013

A Melbourne four month-old baby was lucky to live after its neck was broken during a chiropractic treatment that went horribly wrong.

But the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) has closed an investigation into the near-fatal case, The Age reports.

Melbourne paediatrician Dr Chris Pappas said the infant was rushed to Monash Medical Centre last year after being treated for a ‘wry neck’, which is usually harmless in babies.

''It was a very fine line. Another few millimetres and there would have been a devastating spinal cord injury and the baby would have either died or had severe neurological impairment with quadriplegia. Everybody was very nervous about this little baby,'' he said.

Dr Pappas complained about the case to the health regulator, AHPRA, who closed the investigation after considering the baby’s records and admitting that the chiropractic practice “is, or may be, unsatisfactory”.

His call that chiropractors stop treating infants has been supported by Australian Medical Association (AMA) President Dr Steve Hambleton who told the newspaper he “is not aware of any evidence that chiropractic manipulative treatment of infants and children offers any benefit at all”.

A systematic review published in Pediatrics in 2007 also found nine serious adverse events relating to spinal manipulations in children, including a case of brain haemorrhage and paraplegia.

The president of the Chiropractors Association of Australia, Laurie Tassell, has defended their treatment of babies and said chiropractors can “modify their adjustment techniques to suit the age and spine of each individual child.''

Source: The Age
Author: Matt Khoury. Approving editor: Matthew Henry

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