A YORK chiropractor whose patient died after breaking his neck during treatment was acquitted of professional misconduct.
The General Chiropractic Council Professional Conduct Committee investigated Arleen Scholten’s actions while treating retired bank manager John Lawler, 80, at the 1st Chiropractor Clinic on The Mount in August 2017.
It was said that Ms. Scholten continued treatment and asked him to roll over on his back after feeling unwell and feeling numb in his arms after a “drop technique” treatment on his spine.
It was said that he was no longer responsive and collapsed, was taken to the hospital in an ambulance and died the next day. An autopsy revealed that he had suffered a broken neck and a catastrophic spinal cord injury.
The committee said Ms. Scholten said she had given inaccurate and misleading information to a 999 call operator, paramedics who came to the clinic, and also on the patient’s medical record, and that this was “unprofessional”.
The committee accepted, however, that this was not done deliberately or recklessly and that the circumstances were exceptional and that she was likely suffering from an “acute stress reaction”.
“It was a fast-paced, traumatic, unique series of events and the committee felt it was inevitable that Ms. Scholten would go into shock from Patient A’s rapidly deteriorating condition, need for mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and a phone call would have for an ambulance.
“The committee believed that it was the effects of this combination of factors and the impact of the shock that influenced Ms. Scholten’s subsequent actions and omissions.”
“The committee believed that there had been violations of the Code. These violations were due to the state of mind of Ms. Scholten at the time and not to her willful intent to be inaccurate or misleading.”
The committee was said to be unconvinced that their behavior amounted to unacceptable professional behavior.
The committee heard numerous character references to Ms. Scholten. A five-year-old patient said she was “honest, honest and extremely committed to chiropractic care and the care of her patients.”
Another patient said: “She is committed to her profession as a chiropractor and is passionate about the care and well-being of all of her patients.”
A doctor who was also a patient of Ms. Scholten said she was “honest and honest and very committed in her job as a chiropractor and in caring for her patients”.