MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

Young Australian journalist Eammon Ashton-Atkinson has survived COVID-19 and two strokes, all in the span of a month. It was reported that the 34-year-old Washington DC-based correspondent had a stroke on his chiropractor’s table after experiencing post-COVID neck pain, and was rushed to hospital. While recovering at home, he had a second stroke, losing his balance and collapsing.

He told his radio channel that the first stroke occurred while he was still on the chiropractor’s bench. He was rushed to hospital where a dissection of an artery supplying the brain (probably the vertebral artery) was diagnosed. His vision was initially severely disturbed and he had ‘pins and needles’ in parts of his body. These symptoms subsided rapidly and he was discharged home to recover. However, while resting at his home in DC, he suffered another stroke. This time a blood clot from the dissection fired into the part of his brain responsible for his balance. He was then readmitted to the hospital and treated against the blood clot. Now he is again back home and hoping to recover fully.

Were the strokes related to COVID, the vaccination, or to the chiropractic treatment? Definitely the latter, explains Eammon Ashton-Atkinson in the interview. It seems that his doctors diagnosing and treating the strokes were clear that the cause of the problems was the manipulation.

“It’s still quite traumatic to talk about,” Eammon Ashton-Atkinson told Jim Wilson. “In some ways, I’m very unlucky, in other ways I’m extremely lucky because I’m talking to you now.”

Chiropractors will surely point out that this is not a properly documented case. Almost every detail that makes a decent case report is missing.

I agree!

And why are cases like these (one might speculate that there are many of them) not adequately documented?

Because there is no post-marketing surveillance of chiropractic.

And who is responsible for establishing one?

The chiropractors, of course!

And why do they not create reliable post-marketing surveillance?

Perhaps because that would disclose the magnitude of the risk; and that would obviously be very bad for business.

Therefore, I suggest that chiropractors finally get their act together and create adequate post-marketing surveillance. Until they have done so, they have no moral right to complain that cases like the one above are not adequately documented.

 

16 Responses to One chiropractic treatment followed by two strokes

  • “Definitely the latter” ??? I would say there is high probability the chiropractic treatment dislodged a thrombus from a pre-existing dissection

    • I suggest that chiropractors finally get their act together and create adequate post-marketing surveillance. Until they have done so, they have no moral right to complain that cases like the one above are not adequately documented.

    • From what I have read, around 2% of CoVid patients will have a stroke. No chiropractor needed. It takes more than timing to conclude causation.

      • I suggest that chiropractors finally get their act together and create adequate post-marketing surveillance. Until they have done so, they have no moral right to complain that cases like the one above are not adequately documented.

  • i don’t know about “chiropractors” i myself never made such complaints.

  • the patient tweeted this:

    Eammon Atkinson
    @EammonAtkinson
    ·
    Jul 20
    Just to clarify, the first stroke was caused by a chiropractic adjustment after I had neck pain from covid. I got the J&J vaccine in March and there’s no suggestion that the vaccine is linked to the stroke. It’s the artery dissection – v important

  • Poor fellow. I hope he makes a complete recovery. And perhaps he will focus his journalistic endeavours, at least for a time, on SCAM.

  • Rather than ‘post marketing surveillance’ the chiropractic industry needs a Mandatory Adverse Events Reporting System.

    • good point!

    • “Mandatory Adverse Events Reporting System.”

      1. Doesn’t estabilsh causation
      2. Difficult to enforce
      3. Requires communication with all parties
      4. It’s purpose is for possible associations indicating additional research

      Within the current medical system:

      “Although postmarketing pharmacovigilance databases serve an important role, FAERS has several limitations, including no definitive proof of the causal relationship between exposure to the product and the reported event, significant heterogeneity in the reports that depend on the individual reporting, potential for bias based on physician preference of one drug over others, a patient’s negative experience with a certain product; or a lawyer’s perceptions when defending a client prescribed that product. Finally, because FAERS is a voluntary reporting system, it is likely that not every ADR is reported, and because the denominator (number of patients prescribed the product) is unknown, it is impossible to calculate the incidence of ADR using FAERS. Overall, these limitations may lead to inflation of risk attributable to a medication based on the FAERS pharmacovigilance.” https://www.cghjournal.org/article/S1542-3565(17)31362-9/fulltext

      I support such a system but it’s not the be-all answer.

      • did anyone claim that it is the ‘be-all answer’?

      • To respond to DC’s comment on Friday 23 July 2021 at 13:11

        “Mandatory Adverse Events Reporting System.”

        ‘1. Doesn’t estabilsh (sic) causation’

        It’s not meant to. The recipient decides what is to be done with the report. That is Standard Operating Procedure in all Mandatory Adverse Events Reporting Systems.

        ‘2. Difficult to enforce.’

        I don’t know how you arrived at that assertion. The key is the word ‘Mandatory.’ All Mandatory Adverse Events Reporting Systems include penalties for non-reporting of notifiable events, as defined in the legislation.

        ‘3. Requires communication with all parties.’

        All regulators and investigative authorities should have well-established lines of communications with their respective industries.

        ‘4. It’s (sic) purpose is for possible associations indicating additional research.’

        I’m not sure what you mean by that. The purpose of a Mandatory Adverse Events Reporting System is to stimulate investigation of an adverse event. The investigative authority can use the system to research wider problems that might not have come to light but for mandatory reporting.

        I am always surprised that the chiropractic industry that I am most familiar with, Australia’s, does not have a Mandatory Adverse Events Reporting System. Without it, no-one really knows how safe or unsafe it is, although in the absence of reports chiropractors claim that it is perfectly safe. They ignore the fact that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Without mandatory reporting leading to investigations and statistics, claims of safety have no basis, and clients are not giving informed consent. (As far as I can tell, no chiropractic industry in the world has a Mandatory Adverse Events Reporting System, but if someone is aware of one, please let us know.)

        The chiropractic industry should have the same mandatory reporting requirements as every other industry. For example, aviation accidents are required to be reported pursuant to the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003. An immediately reportable matter must be reported ‘to a nominated official as soon as is reasonably practicable, by the means prescribed by the regulations and including those of the particulars prescribed by the regulations that are known to the responsible person. Penalty: Imprisonment for 12 months.’ In the event of an ‘immediately reportable matter or a routine reportable matter, then the person must within 72 hours give a written report of the matter (containing the particulars prescribed by the regulations) to a nominated official. Penalty: 30 penalty units.’ ($6,300.) An ‘immediately reportable matter’ is defined in the Transport Safety Investigation Regulations 2003 over several paragraphs listing death, injury, damage to aircraft or property, serious breaches of rules, engine fires, etc. Less serious matters have less stringent requirements.

        All civil aviation authorities world-wide are required to implement the same rules. They are signatories to The Convention On International Civil Aviation Annex 13 – Standards And Recommended Practices – Aircraft Accident And Incident Investigation.

        Now if the aviation industry can do, why can’t the chiropractic industry?

        I repeat: without mandatory reporting leading to investigations and statistics, claims of safety have no basis, and clients are not giving informed consent.

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