A CHIROPRACTOR fought back tears as she told an inquest yesterday how she was in a "complete state of shock" after a patient fell dangerously ill at her York clinic.

Dr Arleen Scholten said she initially thought that John Lawler - who had suffered a broken neck - had actually had a stroke.

She said she had no idea of his injury when she lifted him off a treatment table into a chair and attempted to give him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

She was speaking as it emerged that since his death, investigations had shown that the 80-year-old retired York bank manager had been suffering from ‘ossified longitudinal ligament’ adjacent to the spinal cord in his neck.

The inquest heard that the ligament had fractured during treatment, leading to the rupture of a disc and injury to the spinal cord which caused his death. Dr Scholten said she had treated thousands of patients at her Chiropractic 1st clinic in The Mount and never come across anyone suffering Mr Lawler’s injury.

Under cross-examination from Richard Copnall, counsel for Mr Lawler’s family, she accepted that, with hindsight, it had been dangerous to move him from the table to the chair.

However, she said: “I was in a complete state of shock. I have treated thousands of people and had never experienced anything like this in the past... I didn’t know what was going on.

“A stroke was the only thing that came to mind at that point.

“His mouth started turning a bit blue. He started to lose consciousness. I started to give rescue breath. I believed it was helping because the colour started to come back.”

Dr Scholten, who expressed her sympathies to Mr Lawler’s family, said he was being treated on a table which had a section which could drop with a jolt as a gentle method of adjusting the spine.

The chiropractor, who earned a Doctor of Chiropractic degree at Northwestern College of Chiropractic in Canada, conceded that, under British rules, she should not be styled as ‘Dr’ but as ‘Mrs'.

The inquest heard on Monday that Mr Lawler had gone to the clinic in August 2017 after suffering an aching leg that was keeping him awake at night.

His widow Joan said he started shouting at the chiropractor that she was hurting him, then began moaning and then said he couldn’t feel his arms.

During yesterday’s cross-examination, Mr Copnall said it could be suggested that chiropractic could be described as a "new age nonsense", for which he was rebuked by counsel for Dr Scholten, Paul Spencer. Dr Scholten dismissed his suggestion that it was an "alternative" therapy, saying it was "complementary".

The inquest continues.