A WORLD expert has given an inquest his verdict on the treatment given at a York chiropractic clinic to a man who suffered a broken neck on the treatment table and later died.

Richard Brown, secretary-general of the World Federation of Chiropractic, said he had been asked by North Yorkshire Police to investigate John Lawler’s experiences at the Chiropractic 1st clinic in The Mount in August 2017 and provide an independent professional opinion.

The Press reported last year that a woman who was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter in connection with Mr Lawler’s death had been released without charge, following a police investigation.

Dr Brown was cross-examined for hours yesterday by Richard Copnall, counsel for Mr Lawler’s family, on issues including the appropriateness of chiropractor Dr Arleen Scholten’s treatment of the 80-year-old former bank manager after he went to her because of aches in his legs.

The inquest was told she used an ‘activator’, a small, hand-held instrument which delivered a gentle force to the spine, and a chiropractic ‘drop table’, a treatment table with sections that could drop away to assist with spinal manipulation.

Dr Brown said the use of the activator was ‘more gentle’ than manual manipulation with the hands, as it provided high velocity but not forceful thrusts.

It was used to maximise mobility and wellbeing and its use was appropriate and was often used in the case of patients such as Mr Lawler, who had had metal rods used on his lower spine because of a degenerative condition.

He also believed it was appropriate for Dr Scholten to commence treatment without ordering X-rays of the spine, saying chiropractors had once routinely X-rayed patients but this had been criticised and it had now become the exception.

However, he said he would not personally have used the drop table with a patient whom he suspected of having osteoarthritis. He said he had never come across a case of someone suffering the injury experienced by Mr Lawler.

The inquest heard Mr Lawler had been suffering from ‘ossified longitudinal ligament’ adjacent to his neck, which fractured during treatment, leading to a disc rupture and spinal cord injury. The inquest continues today.