Wed. Feb 28th, 2024

The Order of Chiropractors of Quebec has long contravened the rules of the Office of Professions by not requiring its members to maintain liability insurance within five years their retirement. A situation that made Gian Libero Casale's life hell.

Prisoner of his body, the victim of a chiropractor leads his last fight

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Luciana d'Amore, wife of Mr. Casale, shows a painting with her husband's response to a question.

  • François Dallaire (View profile)François Dallaire

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When Gian Libero Casale went to the east of Montreal to the clinic of chiropractor Michel Masse, in September 2010, he did not know that his life was about to change forever.

Following a chiropractic adjustment to treat a sore arm, he returns home. During the evening, while watching a show with his wife, he suddenly gets up. He says: I don't feel good, recalls Luciane d’Amore. I could see that his speech had changed. And I recognized the signs of a stroke right away.

This neck crack led to a dissection of the cerebral artery, according to his expert and his lawyer, Patrick Martin-Ménard.

The expert evidence filed in the court file is very clear, says Me Martin-Ménard. There is a completely obvious link between the maneuver that was performed and the stroke that Mr. Casale suffered [and] which placed him in this condition.

Since that day, he has been affected by locked-in syndrome. He is aware of everything around him, but he is paralyzed, can no longer hear anything, he is mute. Its only means of communication is its eyes.

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Luciana D'Amore holds the board made up of letters and numbers which allows her to communicate with her husband.

His wife, Luciana D’Amore, established an effective way for him to communicate his needs, his emotions, his thoughts. Using a board made up of letters and numbers, she points out each letter to him. When she reaches the desired letter, he blinks. This is how we were able to speak with him.

Mr. Casale led an active lifestyle before meeting chiropractor Michel Masse. Aged 53, he was enjoying life, his wife told us, showing us photos of him, disguised during a festive evening. He wasn't crazy, he liked to put on a show.

When we asked him about the impact that had on him the manipulations of his chiropractor, he replies: He broke my life.

In fact, it was the couple's life that was destroyed because, since that day, Luciana D'Amore has taken daily care of her husband. She is constantly at his bedside at the CHSLD Camille-Lefebvre in Lachine to offer him additional comfort care.

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Michel Masse, chiropractor

Sued by the couple, chiropractor Michel Masse, who refused to speak to us, was finally ordered in 2019 to pay the sum of $1,350,000 in a default judgment. But the couple was never able to receive that amount because by the time the couple filed their lawsuit in 2013, the chiropractor had filed for bankruptcy, abandoned his practice and terminated his liability insurance policy.

When their lawyer, Me Patrick Martin-Ménard, discovered that the chiropractor had terminated this insurance, he was stunned. It was initially a shock for us to see that a professional like that no longer had insurance coverage for an act performed in the context of his profession.

Under the rules of the Office des professions du Québec, all professionals must maintain coverage for five years following their retirement. Following these rules, the Order of Chiropractors has the obligation to impose on its retired members, like Michel Masse, that they keep it until the end of this period.

But the Order did not do it or could not do it, as we will see later. And this, in full view of the Office.

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Patrick Martin-Ménard, lawyer

This shows that there is a significant gap in public protection. This is completely unacceptable.

A quote from Me Martin-Ménard

Professional orders have a role to play in protecting the public; insurance obligations are part of this role. The Office of Professions has a role to play in ensuring that professional orders fulfill their role of protecting the public. And in both cases, here, we failed miserably, denounces the couple's lawyer.

That's the word that came to Gian Libero Casale's mind when we asked him for his reaction. His wife is equally outraged.

I find that scandalous. The Order has flatly failed in its obligations to the public. If the chiropractor retires, it is up to them to take steps to ensure that the regulations are applied and that the public is adequately protected by requiring them to maintain insurance in force.

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Luciana D'Amore, wife of Gian Libero Casale.

But is the Order of Chiropractors the only one responsible? Its current president, Philippe Larivière, was not in place during these events.

During an interview with The bill, he was touched by what the couple experienced. On my own behalf, on behalf of the Order, I express my deep empathy with Mr. Casale and his family.

Like The invoicewas able to observe by reading the numerous legal proceedings involving the Office of Professions, the Order has made numerous settlement proposals in order to comply with the Professional Code, including that of maintaining insurance for five years; all proposals deemed insufficient by the Office.

The Order of Chiropractors of Quebec has done its job diligently, adopted a draft regulatory amendment according to the rules, submitted everything to the Office for implementation and it has still not been put into force by the Office, affirms Philippe Larivière. So, we are asking for this to come into force, that is all we are asking for. There, the ball is in the Office's court now.

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Philippe Larivière, president of the Order of Chiropractors of Quebec.

In these exchanges, we also read that the Office considered that the protection offered by the chiropractors' insurer did not cover all claims. A coverage limitation whose existence the Order has always denied.

The Office declined our invitation to participate in a television interview as well as to share the precise reasons for the rejection of the Order's proposals.

But while the two organizations discuss, nothing concrete happens, observed Mr. Martin-Ménard during our interview last spring.

13 years later, nothing has yet been done to remedy this measure, so that a situation like that which happened to Mr. Casale could happen again. This is completely unacceptable, denounces Me Martin-Ménard. It is clear that there was serious negligence, carelessness and laxity on the part of both the Order of Chiropractors and the Office professions. As we will see later, things have evolved since last spring.

With a judgment obtained by default, the Casale and D'Amore couple sued the Order and the Office of Professions in the hope of recovering the sum of $1,350,000. The two defendants [se] pass the buck, adds their lawyer.

In its defense, the Order submits that had it not been for the bad faith, laxity and negligence demonstrated by the Office […], the plaintiffs would have had the possibility of having their judgment executed by default. The Order adds that the chiropractor committed no fault and that there is no causal link between the treatments provided by Dr. Masse and the lock-in syndromewhich he has been facing ever since.

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Luciana D'Amore at the bedside of her husband Gian Libero Casale.

For its part, the Office of Professions affirms that it behaved prudently and diligently and in good faith when it rejected the numerous proposals of the Order. The Office adds that the applicants must demonstrate a causal link between the behavior of the Office and the alleged damages [which is denied] which would rather have been caused by chiropractic manipulations then the failure, by Dr. Masse, to provide protection in accordance with article 93 d) of the Professional Code.

At the end of the day, the big losers are the plaintiffs who have no compensation for the damages they have suffered and which result from obvious faults of either one or the other. x27;other.

A quote from Me Martin-Ménard

Have the case and prosecution of Mr. Casale accelerated exchanges between the two organizations? One thing is certain, he put a face to this standoff. After years of procrastination, an agreement was reached between the two institutions. The Office's reserves have evaporated.

Published last October in the Official Gazette, the new regulation of the Professional Code (concerning the protections offered by the Order of Chiropractors) now provides that the guarantee extends to any claim presented during the six years following that in which the The insured person ceases to be a member of his order.

The regulation came into force on October 15.

Unfortunately for Mr. Casale and his wife, this agreement changes nothing, since it does not have retroactive effect. From the point of view of public protection, it is certainly a step forward but we are 13 years late, observes Me Martin-Ménard. For Mr. Casale, this does not change the fact that he still has to fight in court to obtain compensation for the very serious harm he suffered at the hands of a chiropractor.

A full report, produced by Nancy Lambert, will be presented this evening at 7:30 p.m. as part of the show La bill.< /em>

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