Confessions of a Quackbuster

This blog deals with healthcare consumer protection, and is therefore about quackery, healthfraud, chiropractic, and other forms of so-Called "Alternative" Medicine (sCAM).

Sunday, July 18, 2004

"Turf war," my tush! - by John Badanes, DC, PharmD

On Feb. 27, 2002, there appeared an article in the National Post

Pediatricians warn against chiropractors
Latest salvo in turf war: Children are being treated
for asthma, colds, bedwetting

Brad Evenson
National Post, with files from The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - The Canadian Pediatric Society has advised
doctors to warn parents not to allow chiropractors to
treat their children for ear infections, bedwetting,
asthma and other problems the alternative healers
say they can cure.

In fact, the society said there is no scientific evidence
that chiropractic methods should be used on children
for any reason. . .

The statement, released yesterday, is the latest salvo
in a turf war between chiropractors and medical doctors.
Recently, a group of 60 Canadian neurologists warned
that neck manipulations can lead to strokes in an
alarming number of cases. In response, chiropractors
dismissed the allegation as "junk science."

The debate will escalate yet again when an Ontario
coroner's inquest in April looks into the 1996 death of
Lana Dale Lewis, who suffered a fatal stroke after
visiting a Toronto chiropractic clinic.

Copyright © 2002 National Post Online


When the article was commented upon on the Healthfraud Discussion List, John Badanes, DC, PharmD, came up with an excellent reply to the comment:

* Note the same tired arguments from the Chair of the Chiropractic
* Association. Sadly, some sub-editor decided this was a "Turf
* War", rather than a struggle between real science and a marketing
* lobby group for a questionable product.

It's difficult to defeat a "turf war" claim just as a jury can't easily disregard remarks made that are NOT accurate -- even as the judge instructs the panel not consider them when an argument isn't relevant to the question. Incredibly, and predictably, in the court of public opinion, if you merely SUGGEST "turf war," any substantive discussion that follows is immediately dismissed or diminished by an uncritical peanut gallery, sullied by the self-interest implied by a "turf war."

It's a very successful diversionary tactic that's always invoked, not surprisingly, by those for whom it really IS a "turf war." After all, what OTHER convincing argument CAN be made by the colonic therapist who wants to treat hospital patients for their asthma, CHF, and TB meningitis ... that removing colonic "toxins" reliably treats each of these diagnoses? Obviously, it's a "turf war" that keeps colonic therapists out of hospitals, along with other practitioners of medical quackery. Those MDs (not the Alt-Med therapists) just want all the money and are conspiring to keep the Alt-Med cure for cancer under wraps :-

When someone claims it's a "turf war" or let's you believe it is by NOT explaining why it isn't, then you know they're holding an empty medical "hand" -- bluffing, as it were. Unfortunately, it seems that no one ever checks to see what ACTUAL biomedical cards are being held, "folding" prematurely in the face of this "turf war" bluster and bluff. After all, if you can convince someone it's [just] a turf war, you never have to talk about the actual practice or medicine in question.

"Turf war," my tush. Very disheartening.


John Badanes, DC, PharmD
Feb. 27, 2002