It appeared to be just another day in the life of supermodel Katie May. Another photo shoot and another paycheck. But on January 29, 2016, the shoot ended abruptly when May pinched a nerve during the session. She quickly decided to see chiropractor Eric Marc Swartz for a consultation. Swartz allegedly evaluated her and gave her an adjustment the same day. According to a medical malpractice lawsuit filed on behalf of May’s family, including her 8-year old daughter, Schwartz may have accidentally torn open her left vertebral artery during the adjustment. After the appointment, May felt dizzy and was rushed to the nearest hospital, where she had trouble speaking and experienced a loss of sensation down her side.
When she arrived at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, the attending physicians immediately identified that May, just 34-years-old at the time, had experienced a massive stroke. She soon lost consciousness and on February 4, 2016, just a few days later, Katie May was gone. The Los Angeles Coroner reported that the stroke was an accident, but noted that it did stem from “an injury sustained during a ‘neck manipulation by chiropractor.’” Last month, May’s estate sued Eric Swartz and his business, Back to Total Health Inc., for medical malpractice, negligence, and wrongful death.
According to the lawsuit May should have been sent for a CT scan before receiving any kind of treatment. “A reasonable chiropractor in Dr. Swartz’s position would not have adjusted May because of the risks involved and would have referred May to the emergency room,” contends the lawsuit. The lawyers representing May claimed that they tried to settle the case to no avail and were forced to file the suit to seek damages for her daughter, Mia May-Maimon.
“May devoted her life to her daughter, Mia,” wrote the attorney representing the May-Maimon family. “Mia is deprived growing up with not only her mother, but her best friend and support system . . . we’re just hoping that the daughter gets a college fund – we don’t want anything unreasonable.”
The lawsuit also contends that Schwartz failed to write a patient report for May when he treated her last year. He then allegedly filled one out the day after her death.
“It begs Plaintiffs to question whether Dr. Swartz went back to change his report after he was notified that May was hospitalized and subsequently died because of his treatment, the neck manipulation,” said May’s lawyer. “He just tried to basically whitewash them and try to pretend all of a sudden now that he was making notes. It was odd, like he went to someone and asked how to make notes that made him the least culpable.”
It is not clear if the case will go to trial or whether Schwartz will opt to settle.