Chiropractor Causes Complete Paralysis: 46-Year-Old Woman Develops Locked-In Syndrome After Therapy Rips Vertebral Arteries

locked-in
Sandy Nette has come a long way, but has yet to recover completely from the chiropractic therapy that left her with locked-in syndrome. David Nette / YouTube

Canadian Sandy Nette recently made a miraculous if lengthy recovery from a complete paralysis brought on by a botched chiropractic adjustment

The Daily Mail reports that the 46-year-old woman suffered from locked-in syndrome after a chiropractor manipulating her neck ripped two vertebral arteries, causing several strokes and leaving her unable to communicate. The incident took place nearly six years ago, in September 2007, when Nette made an appointment to adjust a tense shoulder. 

Her husband, David, knew the routine visit had gone wrong when his wife called him from the road. 

“She called saying she'd parked on the roadside but I couldn't really understand what she was saying,” he remembers. “She was always very articulate but her sentences were really weird and she kept saying ‘David, I'm so scared.'

“She said she felt dizzy and her vision had become strange. She would talk and then the line would suddenly go silent.”

When she returned home with a blank, expressionless face, David rushed her to emergency room at the Royal Alexander Hospital, where her condition would continue to deteriorate. Within minutes of arriving, Nette began gagging and convulsing, and her husband was forced to watch in horror as her body started to shut down. 

She was locked-in. 

“They told me they thought she was going to die and that if she survived, she would be on a ventilator for the foreseeable future,” her husband said. “The doctor asked if a chiropractor had been involved and I said she'd just been to see one. Apparently he had seen a similar case before.”

A Long Road To Recovery

For the first six months, Nette remained completely paralyzed, and was unable to communicate in any way. However, signs of recovery began to appear slowly but surely: three months in, she moved her toe; and after five months, physicians were finally able to remove the suction device in her trachea. 

Free of life-preserving equipment, Nette was finally ready to begin her long rehabilitation process at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Center

“If they asked Sandy to do five of anything, she would do ten,” said David. “Sandy would push herself to exhaustion. They had to be careful what they asked of her.”

“She tried to focus on everything else, though — she just wanted to regain some privacy and independence.”

In February 2009, she gradually began to regain her speech. However, the disability severely restricts her ability to communicate like she once did, and she can only walk a few steps without assistance. 

Although a long road lies ahead, Nette maintains the positive outlook that got her this far. 

“I like the place where I am today,” she said. “I am not satisfied with where I am physically; but I am enjoying a peace within that defies all logic.”

Nette’s chiropractor later admitted under oath to forging her signature on the documents required for the risky manual therapy he performed. He also admitted to perjury and fraud, and was given a three-month suspension. In addition, the Canadian Chiropractic Protection Association will no longer insure him. 

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