Joanne Gallagher was once a chiropractor in Hanover with a devoted following. But she spent 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to contributing to the death of Kimberly Strohecker, a 31-year-old woman with epilepsy; Gallagher told the Hegins woman she didn’t need any medication.
This morning, Gallagher will have a hearing before a state licensing board on her request to have a license to become a massage therapist. Strohecker’s mother, Dawn, worries she’s going to run a practice again.
No decision on the license will be made today.
Gallaghers right to practice was revoked after she was implicated in the death of a patient who suffered from epilepsy. The patient who had lived fairly normally on medications, arrived at her last appointment with Gallagher the day before she died in a wheelchair, wearing adult diapers, choking on vomit, with her tongue nearly bitten through.
Her practice has been described as something “like a religion” with one patient described her laying on of hands as “a gift. In my church it’s called grace.”
She is alleged to have told other patients that she could cure Down syndrome and epilepsy. A neurologist from Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center warned Gallagher that similar treatment she was giving another epilepsy patient could be disastrous.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Catherine Frye stated that it was Gallagher’s arrogance that led to Strohecker’s death because Gallagher thought she knew better than medical doctors.