Kelley Uustal Trial Attorney
March 22, 2009

Young Man Left for Dead After Manipulation Under Anesthesia Goes Awry

A 33-year-old father of three was left in a vegetative state after undergoing a controversial chiropractic procedure; his family is now seeking justice with the help of our team at Kelley|Uustal.

On December 4, 2008, Dale Whyte’s life was derailed by a careless and greedy medical team that saw him not as a patient but as a potential insurance payout. The procedure that put Dale in his current state, Manipulation Under Anesthesia (MUA), has come under fire recently due to its inherent risks, as well as the frequency with which certain doctors recommend it. MUA requires that patients are sedated while a doctor or chiropractor performs various spinal stretches and maneuvers that would otherwise be too painful if the patients were awake. Each session lasts anywhere from 15-30 minutes, and might be repeated daily over the course of up to four days.

While it has its supporters, critics of the procedure are concerned that the majority of people who undergo MUA are at risk for complications from strokes, cardiac arrest, and nerve damage. Many officials see MUA as just another way for doctors to inflate medical bills and get as much money as possible from insurance companies.

 Dale’s family maintains that he didn’t suffer from chronic pain or any kind of serious issue that would necessitate such a drastic intervention. His mother, Carol Whyte, has filed suit against Dr. Basil Mangra, the doctor who recommended and performed the procedure on her son, as well as Thomas Rodenberg, the anesthesiologist on duty. Her suit also names two other physicians, Dr. Brown and Dr. Petryk, who were in the room as part of a MUA course and also manipulated his upper and lower body.

According to a Sun-Sentinel report, medical groups have been skeptical of MUA for years, and have warned practitioners of possible dangers. In 2005 The American Society of Anesthesiology reminded its doctors to be cautious of performing MUAs because of the risks involved, and according to Ronald Wellikoff, the chairman of The Florida Board of Chiropractic Medicine, the group is currently investigating complaints regarding abuses of MUA.

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