TAMPA, Fla. — A settlement agreement between a chiropractor and the Florida Department of Health was at first denied by the Board of Chiropractic Medicine, then rejected by the physician after another stipulation was added.
Jennifer Welch, a former teacher of the year in Orange County, went to Anthony Nalda in 2017 for chiropractic treatment for scoliosis.
“I’ve had multiple surgeries since,” Welch told the board. “My neck will never be the same.”
Welch said the treatment involved “excessively forceful adjustments” that involved someone sitting on her while her necked was “yanked.”
Nalda denies he did anything wrong while treating Welch. He told the board he specializes in treating scoliosis and said that during the type of treatment Welch received, “We just pull slightly.”
According to the Department of Health Administrative Complaint, there was probable cause Naldo allegedly failed to “practice chiropractic medicine at a level of care, skill and treatment” in Welch’s case.
The state offered a proposed settlement of a $5,000 dollar fine, $8,000 in costs and six hours of continuing education. As part of the agreement, Nalda neither admitted nor denied the allegation.
But in Tampa, board members voted against the settlement.
“Revocation is how I feel about this,” board member Dr. Michael Roberts said. “At a minimum a suspension.”
Board member Dr. Walter Melton Jr. said, “This could’ve been a paralysis case.”
Nalda’s Attorney Michael D’Lugo called the board members’ statements “hyperbolic.”
And he was blunt when the board denied the settlement and made a counteroffer that included a year of monitoring the doctor’s practice. The doctor was offered 10 days to consider that proposal.
“I do not need 10 days.” D’Lugo said. “So, the counter proposal is rejected.”
Naldo chose not to comment after the hearing. D’Lugo was asked why he objected to a year of monitoring.
“Part of the problem is that what he does is so specialized that you’re not going to be able to find someone to engage in direct supervision over him,” D’Lugo said. “My client did nothing wrong. We’ll go to an administrative hearing, and we’ll try this.”
Welch also claimed her medical records were altered after the treatment but during the hearing she was told she could not discuss that because the state did not find probable cause to support the allegation.
Board members tried to bring up the records claim as well.
“I’m not a lawyer,” board member Dr. Jason Comerford said. “I’m just a human being questioning, did he change his notes?”
D’Lugo denied records were altered and supported the board’s decision not allowing the claim to be discussed.
“This is not a records case. This went through probable cause,” D’Lugo said. “And they did not charge him with a records violation so that is completely off base.”
Welch’s attorney Jim Guanieri said there is “an electronic paper trail” that he wants the state to examine. He said the original record indicated, “Patient stated that they are in pain and are feeling no improvement.”
According to Guanieri, the note was changed to, “Patient states they are feeling much better today compared to when they started care.”
“There’s a lot of additional investigation that the prosecution could’ve done to investigate that claim,” Guanieri said.
The case will now move on to an administrative hearing.