VOCA Victims of Chiropractic Abuse
No harm in warning about risk
New Haven Register, Letters to the Editor
Published: Tuesday, April 06, 2010
By Preston Long and J. William Kinsinger, M.D.
THE state Board of Chiropractic Examiners has voted 4-1 — four chiropractors to one public representative — not to warn patients that stroke is a rare, proven complication of chiropractic neck manipulation.

The risk has been documented in scientific literature for the past 80 years, as well as in the autopsy findings of coroners and warned about by neurologists and medical experts around the world.

The fact that hearings took place at all is a tribute to the “stroke ladies,” as one chiropractor derisively called them, led by Janet Levy and her group, Victims of Chiropractic Abuse.

The board was the jury hearing evidence, yet it in fact was on trial itself. By its questions and tactics — starting with listening to the Connecticut Chiropractic Association trying to get rid of the one public member of the board before the hearings even started and rejecting on a technicality the only chiropractor scheduled to provide testimony on behalf of the victims — the board showed its complete failure to act in the best interests of patients.

State Sen. Leonard A. Fasano, R-North Haven, testified with simplicity and courage, clearly willing to break the political bowing to chiropractors. He gave notice to the board that there will be a legislated warning. If he succeeds, the impact will extend to every state and will be a legal and political landmark.

The state Board of Medical Examiners also sided with the victims. While chiropractic witnesses played word games to suggest neck manipulation was “associated” with strokes but does not “cause” strokes, the medical doctors stated it clearly: “There is compelling circumstantial evidence.”

Yet, the chiropractic board relied entirely on a single statistical study in which no medical or chiropractic chart was examined. This is utterly amazing.

Victims attorney Jay Malcynsky pointedly asked every chiropractic witness: “What would be the harm in warning patients?”

For the patient, there obviously is only good, and no harm.

That would be true for those chiropractors who place the safety of their patients in the forefront. For them, the irony could not be greater — they would have to go against the state Board of Chiropractic Examiners, the body that is supposed to regulate standards of care in the best interests of patients, but has failed to do so. They would also have to go against their own Connecticut Chiropractic Association.

What all responsible chiropractors would support is the scientific proof of a rare, but real risk of stroke due to chiropractic neck manipulation. What they would support is giving patients the same type of informed consent regarding risks required of every medical doctor practicing in Connecticut.

It is time for the state legislature and scientific-minded chiropractors to act. Informed consent about the possibility of a stroke from neck manipulation is in everyone’s interest.

Preston Long is a chiropractor and author of “Naked Chiropractor.” The state Board of Chiropractors refused to admit his written testimony during state hearings. Write to him at 2421 E. Southern Ave., Tempe, Ariz. 85282. E-mail: plong15@gmail.com. Dr. J. William Kinsinger, an anesthesiologist, writes about health care. Write to him at 3126 S. Boulevard, No. 245, Edmond, Okla. 73013. E-mail: Kinsingerb@aol.com.

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