The Superior Court in Kitchener, Ont., today is set to hear the case of a Guelph woman who died following a chiropractic procedure nine years ago.
The civil suit stemming from Dora Labonte’s death is the latest in a string of litigation over chiropractic care. One of the more significant matters involved a $500-million class action case launched against a chiropractor, a clinic, the Alberta government, and the Alberta College and Association of Chiropractors in 2008.
In Labonte’s case, she allegedly suffered a sore neck and severe headache following treatment by St. Catharines, Ont., chiropractor Tracy Drynan in June 2002, according to the Record newspaper. She died three weeks later, and now her husband Joe Labonte is suing Drynan in a multimillion-dollar case. Dryan’s lawyer has countered that the chiropractor did only soft-tissue massage rather than neck manipulation. But the husband’s lawyer says that doesn’t matter give that his wife died following artery damage in the neck area. None of the allegations have been proven in court.
Chiropractic care has faced a number of legal challenges in recent years. The Alberta case, Nette v. Stiles, involved Sandra Nette of Edmonton, who claims she suffered catastrophic injuries following her treatment by Gregory John Stiles. The case named the college of chiropractors for its alleged failure to properly regulate the profession in Alberta. Last year, however, Justice Paul Belzil of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench rejected class certification in the case on the grounds that the proposed class was too broad, that it wasn’t the preferable procedure, and of a lack of common issues.