Woman suffers catastrophic injuries after chiropractor visit

A woman is fighting for her life after a chiropractic adjustment went horribly wrong, leaving her with catastrophic injuries including dissected neck arteries, a stroke and brain injury.

Caitlin Jensen has a lot to live for, blessed with a loving family and a bright future.

She had recently graduated from Georgia Southern University, US, in May with a degree in Chemistry and Biology and was ready to live her dream life. She had been so excited about all the career opportunities and possibilities on her horizon.

But when Caitlin went for what was meant to be a simple chiropractic adjustment on June 16, she never would have expected that she’d sustain catastrophic injuries and would be left fighting for her life.

Caitlin suffered four dissected arteries in her neck, this damage led to cardiac arrest, stroke and her being without a pulse for over 10 minutes, requiring resuscitation.

She was rushed to the Memorial Hospital in Savannah, Georgia, where she was operated on. She was then taken to the neuro ICU in a critical condition with a traumatic brain injury.

Every day since, she’s been fighting.

Caitlin is currently conscious and able to respond to verbal commands by blinking her eyes, as well as wiggling her the toes of her left foot. However, a lot of her body is paralysed due to the injury.

Her mother Darlene has been posting updates about her daughter’s condition on Facebook, while a GoFundMe has been set up to help pay for her medical costs.

On Saturday Darlene shared the latest news on the condition of her daughter.

“She gave her best effort to smile today, and it was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen,” Darlene said.

“She is progressing with her movements on the left side – wiggling and flexing. She can’t lift her arm yet, or turn her head. Her right side is unchanged – still no movement.

“Her face doesn’t move very much yet, but she can open her eyes widely to show surprise, and the left corner of her mouth tries to smile. Adorable.

“Still working on the pneumonia. The anti-platelet therapy seems to be going OK. We don’t see any signs of internal bleeding and are praying that it stays that way.”

And the day before, Darlene posted: “Two weeks ago tonight we didn’t know if Caitlin would make it through the night,” Darlene said.

“Dire and catastrophic are two of the words that we heard from our ICU team. We knew they didn’t casually throw around words like that.

“But – she is alive, and every day is a little better. The accomplishments are both small and monumental at the same time. Today, she gave us a thumbs up. We have been working on this, and she got it! She also nodded again today.

“It helps to see these things because it reassures us that she is working hard to stay with us and recover. Caitlin is strong, disciplined, and well practised in exercising her brain, and I truly believe that her science background and all of her time studying is going to help her in this long journey. “

The day before, Darlene posted about procedures Caitlin underwent and how she is taking medicine to prevent blood clots from forming in the stent the surgeons inserted in her carotid.

“Caitlin’s face has gone wireless! Yay! Today she got her peg tube (for feeding) and lost the NG tube in her nose. I’m sure it feels better.

“The procedure went without incident and we are relieved to have that completed. They’ll start multiple meds up in the morning to continue the goal of keeping the stent clear of clots.

“Tomorrow will be two weeks since the day we almost lost her. It’s truly remarkable that she is alive. I am shaken to the depth of my being by this experience.

“When I look at my baby girl laying there, and she has the ability to look back at me, to see life in her eyes, to touch her and talk to her … she’s alive. Hallelujah.”

Darlene said she was able to give a tiny nod of her head.

It’s all much-welcomes progress.

Studies have found that traumatic cervical artery dissection is one of the leading causes of stroke in patients under the age of 45, and recent chiropractic neck manipulation is among factors that can be associated with risk of vertebral artery dissection.

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