A Rare Case of Water Intoxication in Unusual Chiropratic Prescription: A Medico-Legal Analysis Due to Alleged Malpractice

Ann Ig. 2021 Jul 5;172(4):250-252. doi: 10.7417/CT.2021.2324.


Introduction: Water intoxication is a well-recognized cause of symptomatic hyponatremia, whose often fatal consequences are de-scribed in a wide variety of conditions such as psychiatric disorders, metabolic dysfunctions, child abuse, drug abuse and several medical procedures.

The case: We here report a rare case of a 67-year-old woman with severe acute hyponatremia due to an excessive voluntary water intake - 14 litres in two days - following a chiropractic prescription. The patient developed sudden severe symptoms, including water retention, sensory alteration, altered mental status and tonic-clonic seizures. She was thus admitted to the Intensive Care Unit with a diagnosis of coma due to electrolyte alterations following water intoxication.

Conclusion: The evaluation, in the present case, of the medico-legal implications related to malpractice involving a practitioner of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, led to the admission of a professional liability of the chiropractor.

Keywords: chiropractic therapy; hyponatremia; malpractice; water intoxication.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyponatremia*
  • Malpractice*
  • Prescriptions
  • Water Intoxication* / chemically induced
  • Water Intoxication* / diagnosis
  • Water Intoxication* / therapy