VOCA Victims of Chiropractic Abuse
Chiropractors Prevail in Battle Over Informed Consent
March 17, 2010
Rick Green | Hartford Courant
Surprising no one, the state Board of Chiropractic Examiners has rejected a proposal that would have required patients be warned about the remote risk of stroke due to a popular neck manipulation procedure.

By a 4-to-1 vote, the board turned back a request for a "declaratory ruling" that would have mandated the state's chiropractors to warn patients that cervical manipulation of the spine can be dangerous. Medical doctors know this warning as "informed consent."

I called board Chair (and chiropractor) Matthew W. Scott to ask about the decision, which was made at a public meeting Tuesday morning. "I'm not allowed to talk about it," Scott said. Click.

There is one board member who isn't a chiropractor. She voted for requiring informed consent and was happy to talk.

"They see no risk of stroke from cervical manipulation,'' said Jean Rexford, the lone yes vote and the executive director of the Connecticut Center for Patient Safety. "They relied on one study. It's time to really take a close look at how all these boards are being run. We have way too many foxes watching the henhouse."

Many chiropractors have been irate over the proposal, saying that evidence of a risk doesn't exist and that they are being singled out. Stroke victims, an increasingly outspoken group, say all they want is for patients to learn about the danger.

The legislature, which passed the issue to the chiropractic examiners, may now take up the issue again.

"It makes me wonder why we have a board at all,'' said Norm Pattis, lawyer for the stroke victims. "If the board won't do it and legislators won't, then we will go to the courts.''

Douglas Fellows, a physician testifying on behalf of the state Board of Medical Examiners during hearings this winter, said that the "compelling circumstantial evidence" of stroke risk cannot be ignored. Quoting Thoreau, he likened it to "a trout in the milk."

I couldn't have said it better.
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