Katie May's Family Speaks Out After Coroner Rules Cause Of Death

PLEASANT HILLS (KDKA) — Playboy model Katie May, a native of the Pittsburgh area, died last February in the state of California after she visited a chiropractor because of neck pain.

The 34-year-old model from Pleasant Hills had tweaked a nerve in her neck and headed to the chiropractor for a neck adjustment.

A few days later, she was feeling faint and had headaches. She died in a Los Angeles hospital, soon after talking to her father.

The coroner’s office in Los Angeles ruled that May died of a severed artery in her neck, due to an adjustment performed by an L.A. chiropractor.

Besides being survived by her parents and three siblings, May leaves a 7-year-old daughter named Mia.

“Mia was everything to Katie,” Jenny McKerrow, May’s sister, said. “She was doing all this to make a better life for her and her daughter.”

Another sister, Megan Mitchell, said, “Katie was funny, smart, but being a mother was the most important hat she wore.”


May had a very successful modeling career. She went directly to Los Angeles after attending Ohio University.

McKerrow said her family was speaking out about May’s death “to bring awareness to neck adjustments [done by a chiropractor]. She had adjustments done twice before she had the stroke.”

Joseph May, Katie’s father, told KDKA-TV’s Ralph Iannotti, “Some people swear by the chiropractor. My father went to one, my brothers went to see them, I think. But after what happened to Katie, I would not go to one.”

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The family said it was not their intention to place blame. They call Katie’s death an accident and wanted people to become self-educated before visiting a chiropractor.

“You always think this won’t happen to my family, but it did, and there’s a huge, gaping hole in our family now,” Mitchell said.

Christine D’Antonio’s Report:

Dr. Richard DiSanti has been practicing chiropractic care in Russelton for 38 years. He says while extremely rare, what happened to Katie May can happen during manipulation of the cervical spine.

“The artery in the neck is traumatized where it bleeds. It actually ruptures and bleeds and a clot could form,” he said.

Dr. DiSanti, like the majority of licensed chiropractors, requires all patients to sign a consent form, which states that one of the risks is stroke.