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, November 21, 2004

So many questions....about FSU chiropractic school

With minor editorial additions for the sake of this blog, here's just one of my entries in an HF list discussion from Sun, 21 Nov 2004 12:14:39 +0100


> And here is the biggee....what if the school does not adopt
> the ACC Paradigm? Or decides to not allow any form of
> interference from the ACA, ICA, or WCA?
> Remember, the report staunchly suggested that the school
> at FSU not involve itself with the political problems of the
> profession.
> And what about.....SUBLUXATION? What about a lot of
> those "other" technique systems?
> So many questions.
> T. M. DC

Yes indeed, "So many questions"...........

Let's say - for hypothetical purposes - that FSU creates a chiro school where chiropractors were turned out without any quacky tendencies, who were excellent at differential diagnostic procedures, looked at the whole person (as opposed to looking at the whole person through "spinal eyeglasses"), knew what was their "turf" (and didn't expand into other's turf), referred out when appropriate, were not anti-medical, anti-AMA, anti-FDA, anti-science, ant-vax, were not *wellness, subluxation-based*, etc.

Let's also (unrealistically) assume - for hypothetical purposes - that these particular FSU chiros would be accepted by MDs, PTs, and the rest of the healthcare system, as appropriately educated chiros, free of any taints of real chiropractic (as represented by ALL of the rest of the schools and ALL of the other chiros in the world, with very few exceptions.....enough to count on two hands....). IOW these chiros would be an affront to the rest of chirodom. They would also be attacked by the rest of chirodom as not being "real" chiros. In fact, they *wouldn't* be real chiros! (Which might lead them to hide their real identity by keeping their chiroskeptical views to themselves when around other chiros.)

Now - for hypothetical purposes - what *uncovered, unique and essential role* would they fill in the healthcare system? Would it be worth the cost of a whole chiro school? Would it be worth the cost and energy of all the political battles that would ensue in and out of the profession?

Above all-------!! Would the ensuing confusion be worth the cost to the public? Since these few FSU chiros would be considered legitimate by the MDs and PTs, the chiropractic profess... (oops! I mean business...;-) *might* even, for purposes of political convenience and exploitation of a good story, extol these as typical chiros (which would be anything but the truth).

Once acceptance has been gained by these FSU DCs, hell will be dragged in on the train of their bridal gown. In fact, the rest of the profession will gain blanket approval by hiding *under* their bridal gown, only to go out and carry on with chiroquackery "business as usual".

It would be like Fallujah. What if the allied forces had found one citizen who was *not* a Saddam sympathizer? I'm sure such exist (very quietly!). That person then receives a pass that says, "Achmed DC is found to be trustworthy. He and all his family shall be escorted out of the city before we attack. They are trustworthy." Then all of the DC family follows Achmed out of the city (95% of the population is in the DC family, and 95% of them have their weapons hidden under their clothes). They then set up shop in other towns and resume their terrorist attacks. What does Achmed do? He shrugs his shoulders and hopes he survives.

I propose that if Achmed DC (Al Adams, DC) is truly discerning about *all* the issues regarding chiroquackery, he will not stop with establishing a good program at FSU. He will immediately realize that he's backing a lost cause, and he will go all the way, by recommending that the chiro school not be established at all. In fact he will openly begin attempts to clean up the profession, rooting out the "terrorists" in his own DC family.

Even if he could turn out a few good chiros at FSU, they wouldn't be real chiros, and they wouldn't fill an *uncovered, unique and essential role*. They would be misfits, puzzle pieces that don't fit.

No need for chiropractic

The existing health care system has no need or room for a separate health care profession such as chiropractic. What little good it may have to offer can and is being offered by other existing professions (without brainwashing!), most notably Physical Therapists. When the dirty bath-water in the chiropractic bathtub gets thrown out, the baby that is left in the tub is what PTs already do in cooperation with MDs.

If chiropractic has anything good that is not being offered, it can easily be incorporated into the regimens of these existing professions. Scientifically grounded health care professions who are loyal team players have the right and obligation to adopt methods proven to be scientifically valid from anywhere they are found, and then incorporate them into their regimens, without it legitimizing the quackish practitioners and schools of thought that may have originally been associated with these methods. Although a pearl may be found in a rubbish heap, that is no reason to move the heap into the house!

It may be asked: "Aren't there some redeeming qualities about chiropractic?" No, not as a profession. It is troublesome and expendable. As individuals, DCs are just as different as any other professionals. While most of them are experts at SMT, and when it is truly necessary can perform it with good results, that does not justify the existence of their profession.

I once wrote this comment:

"IMHO, NACM-minded DCs need to abandon the old "ship" completely and find another name for their new "ship"."

To which a reform-minded chiropractor responded:

"They can't... it's already called 'physical therapy.' In fact, PTs
represent perhaps the greatest potential threat to 'chiropractic' and
chiropractors that I can think of (besides insight, that is). If they as
a group ever decided to 'embrace' manipulative therapy by adding to
their baseline requirements for graduation, after the battle-dust
between the professions cleared, there would be no requirement for a
separate profession called 'chiropractic.' IOW, whatever it is that
chiropractors CLAIM is valid biomedically about what they do, the
so-called (and much overrated) 'baby' in chiropractic's turbid
bath-water, would ALREADY be a part of what physical therapists could
offer. And that, as they say, would be that.

"But, this is wishful thinking on _my_ part ;')". END QUOTE

I think he's right. I still support all attempts to reform the profession, but I also think that it is ultimately futile effort. What such reform attempts can do positively is to make the public and susceptible chiropractors and students aware of the dangers and pitfalls. Attempts at reform should be seen as a rescue mission, not for the profession, but for those in danger of being tricked into accepting it.

DISCLAIMER: I definitely don't think of chiros as terrorists, but only used the current situation for purposes of illustration. Not all "tables" used as illustrations can stand on all four legs!

Check out the whole thread. A very enlightening discussion.