VOCA Victims of Chiropractic Abuse
Board rejects warning on chiropractic risks
Published: Friday, March 19, 2010
By Mary E. O’Leary, Register Topics Editor
HARTFORD — Advocates have failed to convince a licensing board to order chiropractors to warn patients about the possible risk of stroke from neck manipulation, but they are not giving up.

The Connecticut Board of Chiropractic Examiners voted 4-1 this week against issuing the declaratory ruling.

The board heard four days of testimony last year from patients who said they were harmed by neck manipulation, while chiropractors said the risk was low and their profession was being singled out.

Janet Levy, president of Victims of Chiropractic Abuse, said she was disappointed, but not surprised.

“From the start of this declaratory ruling process, it was evident that the chiropractors on the board had no intention of protecting patients’ rights,” Levy alleged.

Norm Pattis, attorney for the Chiropratic Stroke Awareness Group, said he has been led to believe the legislature will mandate patients be warned. If that is not the case, he plans to appeal the issue to Superior Court once a final written ruling is issued within three months.

The four members who voted against the ruling are chiropractors. The dissenting vote was from Jean Rexford, executive director of the Connecticut Center for Patient Safety.

Levy said the board is missing two of the three public members required by law.

“I was very disappointed. It was an amazing process,” she said. Rexford said after 34 hours of testimony, the other four members relied on one Canadian study that found no danger from neck manipulation as definitive literature on the issue.

As a consumer advocate, Rexford said she depended on personal stories of patients who testified they had been hurt by the procedure.

“They were very real facts for me,” she said. Rexford also found the testimony of the state medical examiner’s office in favor of informed consent compelling, but said the problem was bigger than this issue.

“I don’t see any overarching entity looking at the quality of care that chiropractors provide,” she said.

A representative of the board could not be reached for comment. William Gerrish, spokesman for the state Health Department, said the agency provides technical assistance to the examiners, but “it’s their decision,” and the department did not take a position.

At the time of the hearing, Matthew N. Pagano, spokesman for the Connecticut Chiropractic Association, objected to the proposal as unfair, testifying it singles them out and was not necessary.

He said the group “unequivocally supports” a patient’s right “to be informed of the benefits and risks of any type of health care treatment, not just chiropractic treatment.

Legislative or regulatory mandates governing informed consent should apply to all health care providers and all treatments in equal measure.”

Contact Mary E. O’Leary at 203-789-5731 or moleary@newhavenregister.com.

Connecticut News
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June 10, 2010
Connecticut chiropractors sued over neck manipulations
April 6, 2010
No harm in warning about risk
March 19, 2010
Board rejects warning on chiropractic risks
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On Stroke Risks, Chiropractors Manipulate Us
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Chiropractors Prevail in Battle Over Informed Consent
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Chiropractic Conflict Continues in Connecticut
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Patients Need To Know Chiropractic Risks
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