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).

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Chiropractors distort info negative to their practice

VOLUME 36, NO. 02, January 18, 2000

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: 'Chiropractors distort info negative to their practice'

Re: "Courts struggle with stroke-chiropractic link" (the Medical Post, Nov. 16).

As the mother of Laurie Jean Mathiason, who died of a stroke after a chiropractic manipulation in February 1998, I very much appreciate your article. Chiropractors often distort information negative to their practice and here again they are attempting to do so by referring to Dr. John Norris' study as "word of mouth" and by comparing their routine use of neck manipulation with medical or surgical treatment. Their distortion is that they use neck manipulation for everything and almost every time, while medical or surgical treatment will only be used after a true determination of the need to do so.

Even though a medical doctor may refer a patient to a chiropractor for lower back pain you must realize the chiropractor will manipulate the neck.

Laurie went to a chiropractor for low back pain. She went 21 times and had her neck manipulated on all 21 occasions. In fact, she had multiple neck manipulations on each occasion, except the last when one was enough to kill her.

In case you think this kind of result is rare, we know there are at least three other recent deaths in Canada and Dr. Norris' study is showing the frequency of chiropractic stroke in Canada. How can any physician refer a patient to a chiropractor knowing such a useless nonscientific and dangerous manipulation of the atlas and the axis joint will be a treatment for their patient?

I am sure the physicians of Canada place great value on their title "doctor." So does my family. In the next-to-last conversation I had with my daughter, when she told me how badly the chiropractor had hurt her, I told her I wanted her to see a doctor.

"Mom," she replied, "she (the chiropractor) is a doctor." A few hours later she was dead after having her vertebral artery punctured completely through by a chiropractic neck manipulation.

Lana Dale Lewis died seeking treatment for a migraine. I do not understand how a real medical doctor can refer a patient to a chiropractic who believes that upper cervical manipulation is a treatment for everything from ear infections to migraine headaches. I do not understand how real medical doctors who value their degree can refer a patient to a chiropractor who also claims to be a "doctor."

Chiropractors practise pediatric chiropractic and try to treat everything from colic to bed-wetting by spinal manipulation. The chiefs of pediatrics and the Canadian Pediatric Society have basically labelled all this as useless and even dangerous. However, pediatric chiropractic is a $50 million dollar a year business in Canada and chiropractors are not likely to give up such a cash cow.

I do not understand why any physician would refer a patient to a chiropractor for any type of manual therapy when a perfectly safe and scientific alternative from orthopractic physiotherapists exists in the community. Stop accepting double talk.

Our new non-profit corporation, Laurie's Advocacy For Victims of Chiropractic Inc., wishes to make physicians aware they are exposing themselves to being included in a common lawsuit with a chiropractor in respect to any patient who suffers a stroke due to upper cervical neck manipulation by a chiropractor on the referral of a physician.

Chiropractic neck manipulation must stop so other innocent victims can be saved. Do not be the instrument that sends one of your patients to a chiropractic stroke. -- Sharon J. Mathiason, Saskatoon, Sask.