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Significant issues and developments related to chiropractic.
"The Faculty of Science made this decision based on academic grounds because we wish to build upon the University's recent major strategic investments in research-intensive areas of biomedical science and engineering." Professor Clive Baldock, Executive Dean, Faculty of Science, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia (24th April 2013)
Chiropractors accused of practicing medicine without a license are fighting back against a cease and desist order from the Colorado Medical Board. Although they are licensed chiropractors, neither Heather nor Brandon Credeur are licensed to practice medicine. The Medical Board, however, found the Credeurs told patients they could assume responsibility for prescribing medications for the treatment of endocrine misfunction...After the Medical Board filed their cease and desist order, one of the co-authors of this article revisited former patients who said they were pleased but surprised by the action: "We've been scammed, lied to and we've been deceived," said Cheri Carey. "I'll never get back the time, money; that will never come back [and] I think he'll get around it," Carey said about the cease and desist order. "It is not going to stop anything. He's been doing this since day one. He will find a way around it." To read the notice of charges click here.
The Texas Supreme Court has reinstated a $740,000 judgment against a chiropractor whose patient suffered a stroke due to an "undetectable" physical condition. Lawyers Weekly USA (10th December 2012)
A New Jersey judge ordered Daniel H. Dahan, D.C., Practice Perfect, and Robert H. Borsody, Esq. to pay Allstate Insurance Company nearly $4 million for violating New Jersey's Insurance Fraud Protection Act. The judge also ordered Dahan and Medical Neurological Diagnostics, Inc. (MNDI) to pay an additional $10,125. Dahan is president of Practice Perfect Management & Consulting Services, of Long Beach, California, which specialises in helping chiropractors set up clinics that "integrate" chiropractic, medical, and physical therapy services. Borsody, who practices law in New York City, devised the legal strategy and forms used to provide the "integration." Practice Perfect seminars taught chiropractors how to set up medical corporations that appeared to comply with state regulations as to ownership and control, but would actually be under the chiropractor's control through devices such as undated documents, penalty clauses, and one-sided agreements. Chirobase (21st November 2012)
Canada's top court will not hear an appeal by an Alberta chiropractor who was ordered to pay more than $1.3 million in damages to a patient who he severely injured....Alberta Court of Queen's Bench Judge Donna Shelley ruled in 2010 that the chiropractor was negligent and caused an uncommon disorder known as cauda equina syndrome, where the nerve roots below the lower end of the spinal cord become compressed. CBC Health News (1st November 2012)
15th November 2012: Colorado State Chiropractic Board has decided that chiropractor, Brandon Cradeur, only needs to keep better paperwork and has apparently dismissed concerns about his "functional endocrinology" practices. However, concerns about Credeur's practices are ongoing. The state's Board of Medical Examiners has now opened an investigation "regarding allegations of the unlicensed practice of medicine," an official confirmed.
“Members of Winnipeg Chiropractic Stroke Survivors will meet with Health Minister Theresa Oswald this morning to make their case for a ban on high neck chiropractic manipulation…The group claims that repeated chiropractic neck manipulation causes arterial damage and stroke….The group not only wants neck manipulation to be banned, but it also wants the province to de-insure chiropractic services and hold a public inquiry on the effects of high neck manipulation on patients. The Manitoba Chiropractors Association declined to comment." Reported by CBC News (4th October 2012)
UPDATE: More than a half-dozen members of the group, including three who say they suffered strokes after having their necks manipulated by a chiropractor, met for an hour with Health Minister Theresa Oswald on 5th October 2012. "I thought it was a very favourable meeting, a very positive meeting," said Pat Chevrier, whose son Tim had a stroke in 2006, which he blames on chiropractic neck manipulations…. Manitoba is the only province that provides universal chiropractic coverage. Anyone with a Manitoba Health card gets $11.20 of the cost of a visit paid for by the government. Adjustments to the spinal column, pelvis and extremities are covered. The group also complained to Oswald that many chiropractors say they can treat colic and bedwetting through manipulating the spine of children.
More questions over chiropractic care in Manitoba can be read here.
Jann Bellamy, Science Based Medicine (28th June 2012)
UPDATE (5th December 2012): ACA, ICA, COCSA, FCLB and Select College Presidents Meet with CCE: "...it was predicted that victory in the accreditation war would be declared by the conservative, traditional faction as soon as language regarding vertebral subluxation was put back in a more prominent role along with "without drugs and surgery."
Click HERE for more background.
"TMA is very concerned that not only will patients be deceived and misled, but many could also suffer injury and harm, for example by delayed diagnosis," TMA President Michael E. Speer, MD, said in a formal letter to Yvette Yarbrough, executive director of the Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners. "A patient suffering headaches, syncope, or seizures could have a serious neurological disease, but that patient could easily find himself or herself in a 'chiropractic neurologist's' office. The patient could easily be deceived into believing that this chiropractor could diagnose or treat his or her medical condition, including a brain tumour, aneurism, or stroke. This proposed rule is not in harmony with the Texas Chiropractic Act, the Healing Art Identification Act, or the Health Professions Council Statute." He noted that some chiropractors are "already pushing the envelope" in their advertisements by burying the designations required under Texas law, thus confusing patients about whether the chiropractor is a physician. Dr. Speer added that the state Chiropractic Act "makes no reference to neurology. Neurology does not involve the biomechanics of the spine and musculoskeletal system. Neurology is clearly beyond the scope of chiropractic in Texas, and this proposed rule is a brazen effort by the board to circumvent Texas statutory law to expand chiropractors' scope." Texas Medical Association (1st August 2012) [Includes full text of letter]
“…the Government says they have no plans to re-evaluate chiropractic coverage. The program they fund right now shows 90 percent of the clients aren’t using their allotted 12 treatments anyways.” Global Regina (7th June 2012)
82% of practicing chiropractors struggle to pay their bills, or don't pay them, and out of all chiropractic graduates, 50% fail, and nearly 20% don’t use their diploma which many spend anywhere from $150,000 to $200,000 acquiring. American Chiropractor (April 2012) [p.36]
The Chronicle of Higher Education has reported that many of the United State's 16 chiropractic programs are struggling to stay in business. According to the journal's analysis, during the past 10 years, enrolment at chiropractic colleges fell by 8% to about 12,000 students, and four lost close to half of their students. This is a serious problem because about 85% of chiropractic college income comes from tuition. One cause of financial stress is the high compensation packages of their presidents, which consume 2% of their colleges' budgets (five times as much as the typical president at a private college with a budget over $50 million). Some earn nearly as much as leaders of research universities that are 10 times or more their size. (Scroll to end the of the link for graphs) [Source: Fuller A. Chiropractic colleges seek legitimacy amid financial woes. The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 1, 2012]
US chiropractor, Benjamin Altadonna, created a fraudulent national marketing campaign for the DRX 9000, a device that aims to treat back problems using spinal decompression. Mercury News (26th March 2012)
“The Colorado State Board of Chiropractic Examiners has filed a complaint charging Denver-based Brandon Credeur, D.C., with (a) false, misleading, and unethical advertising, (b) abandoning a patient, (c) ordering and performing unnecessary tests, and (d) practicing outside the scope of his license in connection with his dealings with five patients. Credeur, who does business as the Functional Endocrinology Institute of Colorado, represents himself as "uniquely skilled and experienced at treating the root physiological, biochemical and hormonal imbalances associated with Type II Diabetes and Hypothyroidism." A typical course of treatment, which includes a diet and dietary supplements, costs several thousand dollars. In April, Denver's ABC News, aired a critical broadcast that triggered more than 100 calls and complaints. In subsequent broadcasts, the station's CALL7 news team reported that more than a dozen patients are suing Credeur and that the state Attorney General is investigating whether Credeur should be charged with practicing medicine without a license. The TV reports also describe how Credeur has been marketing his program to chiropractors with glowing reports about its profitability.” Consumer Health Digest Newsletter (15th December 2011)
The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) has won the Bent Spoon Award for being “the perpetrator of the most preposterous piece of paranormal or pseudo-scientific piffle”, for the alleged content of its chiropractic degrees. Awarded by the Australian Skeptics, the dishonour was given to the Melbourne-based university for its chiropractic teachings and for treating children and infants at its on-campus paediatric chiropractic clinics. The clinics were subject to a series of complaints earlier this year by leading figures in medicine, amid concern there was no evidence that chiropractic treatments on children were safe or effective. The university refused to comment on its award. Australian news report (25th November 2011) [PDF]
“A type of chiropractic device mired by lawsuits and controversy is again under fire in Florida. This time, the FDA’s focus is Spinetronics, owned by Coral Springs chiropractor David Bass. FDA says Bass over-stated the treatment capabilities of a spine-stretching device he invented, the Antalgic-Trak. Sarasota-based Axiom Worldwide and Melbourne-based Vax-D have also run into trouble in recent years for misrepresenting similar “spinal decompression” devices. Although each company made something a little different, all the devices required patients to recline on a table as a computer-controlled machine stretched the body in different ways. Some chiropractors say the treatment is valid, but sales have led to lawsuits and accusations of fraud.” Health News Florida (3rd November 2011)
A group of [Australia’s] top medical experts has condemned the planned launch of a new university course to train chiropractors, denouncing it as "non-science" that could encourage the provision of dangerous treatments to children. The group of 35 experts, including the cervical cancer vaccine inventor Ian Frazer, public hospital physician John Dwyer and Australian Medical Association president Steve Hambleton, have signed an open letter urging Central Queensland University to reconsider its plans to launch the course, due to accept its first intake of about 30 HECS-funded undergraduates in March. The letter to the university's Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Graham Pegg, and Dean of Medical and Applied Sciences, Grant Stanley, expresses "concern about the increasing numbers of universities that are allowing non-evidence-based 'pseudo' disciplines to be offered to their students". Adam Cresswell, Health Editor, The Australian (3rd December 2011)
The Archives of Internal Medicine and American Family Physician reject ad promoting chiropractic's role in medical home model. Dynamic Chiropractic (November 2011)
“After an examination, [my chiropractor] told me I had a lot of tightness in my neck and shoulder,” Sorbo says. “Then he cracked my neck, which he had never done before, saying he felt the manipulation would help alleviate some of the tension.” Driving home, Sorbo began to experience blurry vision, dizziness, and buzzing in his head. He decided to sleep it off. But the next morning, his speech was slurred and he could barely walk…MRI tests show that Sorbo had suffered three distinct strokes, accounting for his dizziness and vision loss. One of his other doctors suggested that Sorbo's clots may have travelled in reverse, toward his brain…“I was told clots don't typically travel ‘upstream’—in reverse to the brain—so my doctors were unsure whether [my shoulder] aneurysm was related to the strokes,” Sorbo says. “I began to wonder whether having my neck cracked had somehow exacerbated my condition.” Sorbo didn't have any of the risk factors for stroke, which include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, obesity, a family history of stroke, drug use, or cardiovascular disease. Since his symptoms first appeared immediately after having his neck cracked, many of his doctors believed that the chiropractic adjustment, combined with his existing aneurysm, could have triggered his strokes. Neurology Now (October/November 2011, Vol 7 Issue 5 pp 26–28, 30–31)