State Senator Len Fasano Testifies in Support of Bill Requiring Chiropractors to Inform Patients of Risks Associated with Treatment

February 6, 2009

Hartford, CT – State Senator Len Fasano (R-North Haven) testified at a public hearing last week before the General Assembly’s Public Health Committee in support of SB 90: An Act Requiring Chiropractors to Obtain Informed Written Consent From a Patient Prior to Performing Certain Procedures Involving Treatment of the Cervical Spine. The bill would require chiropractors to obtain consent forms from patients who will be receiving any type manipulation or adjustment of their cervical spine area. The bill will also require that informed consent includes an explanation of the potential side effects and corresponding symptoms of such treatments, including the risk of chiropractic stroke.

“This bill is not an attack on chiropractors and their profession,” said Senator Fasano. “This bill merely calls for an acknowledgement of the risks associated with these particular treatments. Just about any time you receive medical attention, from a flu shot to a prescription medication, you are told of the potential risks and side effects. This bill would simply ask chiropractors the same that is asked of other medical professionals in providing the highest level of care to their patients.”

Senator Fasano first introduced this bill during last year’s legislative session after collaborating with Janet Levy, a Woodbridge resident. Mrs. Levy suffered a stroke after receiving cervical spine treatment from a chiropractor. It wasn’t until a week after treatment that she began experiencing symptoms. At the urging of a physician, she underwent brain surgery and was able to eventually recover.

“Chiropractors advertise that their procedures are ‘safe’ and ‘natural’ so the public assumes there are no risks. This is simply not true,” said Mrs. Levy. “Because of my own experience, and the experiences of countless others, I want it to be mandatory that chiropractors inform patients about any and all risks, including stroke, permanent disability, and death. Chiropractors need to give not only oral and written consent but they should also give the patient a discharge summary to go home with, detailing the warning signs of stroke. Since a stroke can occur hours, days and even weeks later, this list of symptoms would help a patient recognize when and if they should seek immediate care.”

Senator Fasano has long been a proponent of accountability and transparency within the chiropractic profession. Last year, he worked to expand the state’s healthcare registry to include chiropractors and other medical professionals to comply with the State Physician Profiling System. The system gives patients access to information like professional education, licensing and certification. Also on the registry is information detailing any disciplinary actions, malpractice judgments or felony criminal charges. Governor Rell signed this bill into law in June of 2008.