Case study: Osteopath Suspended for Unacceptable Treatment

Compensation: £3,000

Tricia, Halifax

A case was settled by JMW for £3,000 after treatment on a woman's back by an osteopath was deemed unacceptable.

Tricia suffers from Goldenhar Syndrome, a congenital malformation of one side of the face plus abnormalities of the vertebrae of the neck, including fusion. In 2012 she developed back pain and when it persisted for two months she decided to consult an osteopath (Mr P).

The osteopath manipulated her spine without asking if she had any problems and failed to recognise the significance of her congenital defects. Following the manipulation the pain was worse but despite this Tricia returned for further manipulation on four more occasions. The pain did not improve but Tricia trusted the osteopath when he told her “no pain no gain”. At one stage the pain was so severe that she attended her GP for some strong analgesia. On the final two appointments, Tricia informed the osteopath that she was experiencing pins and needles in her left arm and leg but he continued with the same treatment. 

Getting a second opinion

Eventually Tricia consulted another osteopath (Mr R) for a second opinion. She had an X-ray of her spine, which showed a congenital abnormality. Mr R wrote to Tricia’s GP who arranged an MRI scan, which confirmed the diagnosis. The osteopath should not have treated Trisha at all without ordering an MRI scan as her congenital condition was obvious.

Tricia received numerous remedial sessions from Mr R, the second osteopath, and eventually the worst of her symptoms subsided. However, she did not fully recover until about 12 months later.

Unacceptable professional conduct

The treatment provided to Tricia by Mr P was subsequently investigated by the General Osteopathic Council who found him guilty of unacceptable professional conduct and an interim suspension order was imposed.


The case was settled by Katie Nolan, one of JMW’s expert solicitors, for £3,000.

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