650 people get permission to sue chiropractors
Published Wednesday, November 23, 2016 1:54PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, November 23, 2016 6:44PM EST
A class action lawsuit against 13 Quebec chiropractors has been authorized to proceed.
The chiropractors from the private clinic Zéro Gravité are accused of promoting and using a treatment that Health Canada said had no scientific benefit.
They were using a device called the Axiom DRX9000, a spinal decompression unit where patients are stretched to relieve back pain.
Health Canada removed the manufacturer's licence in 2010 because it said the company did not provide the scientific information needed to prove that it provided scientific benefits to people.
Patient Frantz Charles said it made his back problem worse.
"After, like, 30 treatments, I was still suffering, hurting. I said to the doctor I want to stop, I cannot continue. I was in pain,” he said.
Lawyer Jean-Francois Leroux, representing the clients, maintains that the chiropractors put money and business ahead of the patients’ well-being.
"From our point of view they should have just stopped using the machine since there was no scientific proof about the benefits of the machine," said Leroux.
Stephanie Beaulne is one patient who was convinced by the chiropractors and their commercials.
She took out a loan to pay for $4,300 in treatments.
"I had nothing to lose except for money," she said.
She is still making payments on the loan, and has had four surgeries since she stopped.
Leroux is asking the chiropractors to give back the money they took from clients.
“First of all, we are asking for the reimbursement of the treatments. Second of all, we are asking for $10,000 in order to try to repair the damage caused by undergoing the treatment, and on top of that, there’s $5,000 that is being claimed for punitive damages,” he said.
The private clinics that employed the chiropractors went bankrupt in 2013, but the medical professionals are still practicing.
Some are also the subject of complaints.
"Some of the doctors that have been working with Zero Gravity have undergone complaints by the public," said Jean-Francois Henri, president of the Quebec Order of Chiropractors.
He said that the order informed chiropractors to stop using the DRX 9000 and to stop advertising its supposed benefits.
Those who did not were disciplined.
So far 650 people have signed up for the case, but it could affect up to 8,000 people.
If successful, it could result in a claim for costs and damages of $120,000,000.