Caitlin Jensen Savannah Georgia woman left paralyzed after routine chiropractor visit leads to four snapped arteries in her neck along with stroke.
Caitlin Jensen, 28, a recent Georgia Southern University graduate on June 16 visited a chiropractor for an ‘adjustment to her neck’, according to a GoFundMe page established to offset medical expenses. After the adjustment, Jensen ‘became ill’ and hospitalized, with tests revealing she had four dissected arteries within her neck.
‘This damage led to cardiac arrest and a stroke, as well as a loss of pulse for over 10 minutes after which she was revived,’ the fundraising page reads. ‘Once the doctors were able to stabilize Caitlin, she was rushed to surgery. Doctors were able to repair some tears and placed a stent in one artery.’
Caitlin’s mother Darlene Jensen told WSB-TV that doctors believe the young woman’s stroke occurred ‘as a direct result of the neck manipulation.’
‘The surgeon … that saved her life, and every other doctor that has looked at her, have all agreed that this happened as a direct result of the neck manipulation,’ Darelene told WSB-TV. ‘The chiropractor called 911 and then called me and told me that she was ‘having a reaction to the treatment.”
Caitlin’s family has retained legal counsel on her behalf, and that the cause of her injury has not yet officially been determined.
The name of the chiropractor that Caitlin visited on June 16 was not immediately clear and could not be reached for comment. WJCL reported that they were able to get in touch with the doctor, who declined to comment, citing HIPAA.
Dr. Steve Ranicki, a chiropractor in Pooler, Georgia described what happened to Caitlin is ‘incredibly rare.’
Speaking to WJCL, Ranicki said that artery dissections like the young woman’s ‘often produce symptoms of headache and neck pain, which then drive people to a doctor’s office.’
‘Once they’ve gone to the medical doctor or chiropractor the likelihood is, unfortunately, a stroke will occur,’ Ranicki told WJCL, adding that anything from someone tilting their head back in a hair salon or ‘horseplay or who knows what,’ could trigger the injuries for someone with the condition.
Speaking to FOX26, Dr. Danish Ali, a pain management specialist and assistant professor at the University of Houston’s College of Medicine said he was hopeful that Caitlin’s paralysis was temporary and the result of inflammation having built in her body, which ought to eventually subside.
The medic believed that Caitlin suffered her injuries as a result of having a disorder that made her vulnerable to adjustments and that her ligaments were not as strong as ‘other folks’, leading to the injuring of some of the patient’s nerves, resulting in weakness and paralyses in her arms and legs.
Negotiating insurance and medical expenses
Dr Danish Ali also noted that Caitlin would have been best served going to her doctor first before seeking out a chiropractor for the duress she was experiencing in her neck area, and relied on the medic’s guidance.
A month after visiting her chiropractor, Caitlin remains in the neurological ICU at Memorial Hospital in Savannah, Georgia, in critical condition. While she is conscious, she is only able to respond to verbal commands by blinking her eyes and wiggling toes on her left feet, according to the GoFundMe, which also states she suffered a traumatic brain injury.
However, the rest of her body sits in a state of paralysis due to the injury,’ the GoFundMe says.
Caitlin’s brother Caleb Jensen said that his sister is ‘able to open her eyes every now and then and wake up a little bit. And kind of move her hands to squeeze a little. But that’s it.’
Caitlin graduated from Georgia Southern University in May with a degree in chemistry and biology, and looked forward to her future, the GoFundMe states. As of Wednesday morning, the page has raised over $58,000 of a $100,000 goal for medical bills.
A CaringBridge page has also been created in Caitlin’s name to update followers on her recovery. There, Darlene shared an update Monday, writing that doctors have decided her daughter should remain on blood thinners for the time being after her blood levels temporarily dropped over the weekend.
Darlene also wrote in the CaringBridge journal entry that she hopes the spotlight on her daughter’s story ‘will help others avoid this type of injury.’
Caitlin’s family hopes to transport her to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta when she can leave the ICU at Memorial Health, according to the GoFundMe page and WJCL.
‘We are still trying everything we can to get her into Shepherd,’ Darlene wrote on GoFundMe on June 29. ‘We’re having trouble with the insurance part of it, and we really need that part to work out.’