LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Playboy model Katie May died as a result of an injury caused by a chiropractor who manipulated her neck, according to Los Angeles Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter.

Just days before the 34-year-old died in early February, she posted on Twitter that she had a pinched nerve in her neck and was going to see a chiropractor.

Winter cited “neck manipulation by [a] chiropractor” as the cause of May’s injury that led to a certain type of deadly stroke.

May’s sister, Jenny McKerrow, said “I would have never in a million years have thought I would lose my baby sister to something like this. You have a vibrant, healthy single mom, who was at the brink of stardom, who lost her life. It’s heartbreaking.”

McKerrow said her family is angry and hopes talking publicly about it will prevent someone else from having the same fate.

“Chiropractic is very safe. I do it to my little children. I do it to my mom, who’s almost 90 years old. I do it to all my patients,” said Jeffrey Benton, Vice President of the L.A. Metro Chapter of the California Chiropractic Association.

He said complications from getting adjusted by a chiropractor are extremely rare and wondered if May had other underlying conditions.

“There are more deaths to opioid medications than there are to chiropractic manipulations,” he added.

The Mayo Clinic calls chiropractic adjustments safe but says there are possible serious yet rare complications such as a herniated disk, compression of nerves in the lower spinal column and a certain type of stroke after neck manipulation.

The website advises against getting adjustments if you have severe osteoporosis, numbness and tingling, cancer in the spine and increased risks of stroke or excessive motion in the spine.

Comments (100)
  1. Pepe says:

    I had a stroke reading the dumb comments here. Then I got cancer and autism while typing this. I blame the FDA for not regulating keyboards.

  2. Donald says:

    I’d never get it done, no matter how much my neck hurt. However, seems to be real big modern Christian church circles as a cure for just about everything. Right up there with essential oils and speaking in tongues.

  3. edrebber says:

    There are over 100,000 deaths from pharmaceutical drugs each year in the USA, even when prescribed correctly and taken as prescribed.

  4. doug says:

    Who would guess that getting your neck snapped could cause problems.

  5. sixgeese says:

    Chiropractors are quacks.

  6. Joe Seijo says:

    What issue of Playboy was she in? She was hot!

  7. ChiroQuacktic? I only go to one when my witch doctor is out of town.

  8. BambiB says:

    More than a quarter MILLION people are killed each year in America due to “medical misadventure” – that is, malpractice. Everyone is fired up about one death due to chiropractor?

  9. SILLYSALLY says:

    40 years ago my husband’s doctor told him to go to a surgeon for back surgery and set up an appointment since he had a bike accident and couldn’t hardly get out of bed, his back was in such bad shape. He stopped on the way home at a chiropractor. The chiropractor knew exactly what to do and he had 3 visits. The chiropractor also told my husband how to lift things as that was what he did on his job. by 3 visits, he was walking straight up and doing great. Today, he’s still going strong at 76. If he had back surgery as the doctor told him to, he would have been disabled all these years. The chiropractor is dead now but my husband owes him still for being there. There are good chiropractors and there are not so good chiropractors. A few years ago, I couldn’t raise my arm as I had fallen several times. The chiropractor I went to, took xrays and knew exactly what to do. It took about 15 visits and now I’m just fine. My sinuses also cleared up. Having had sinus headaches for years, all of a sudden, sinus problems gone. I’m just telling you how a chiropractor helped my family. They are not quacks.

  10. paula says:

    Or, God forbid, undiagnosed cervical spinal stenosis.

  11. JCH MD says:

    I have seen this a few times. Manipulation of the cervical spine can cause a vertebral artery dissection. The dissection leads to the formation of thrombus (blood clot) which subsequently embolizes to the brainstem resulting in a brainstem stroke (death), cerebellar stroke (extreme dizziness), or stroke in the posterior cerebral hemisphere (visual perception abnormalites).

  12. me says:


  13. texasnation says:

    When are we going to stop referring to Chiropractors as Doctors? The are nothing but over rated massage therapist.

  14. Chiropractors are to the Medical profession like Astrology is to the Space Program. They are ALL quacks and scammers. Just spend 30 minutes looking at auto insurance injury claims is all I needed to realize these creitans should be banned from touching a single person in the name of “medicine”

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