VOCA Victims of Chiropractic Abuse
Connecticut chiropractors sued over neck manipulations
Advocacy group sues Conn. chiropractors, saying they're not warning patients of health risks
Associated Press Writer
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A patient advocacy group announced Thursday it would sue two Connecticut chiropractic trade groups, accusing the chiropractors of violating patients' right to know about the health risks of neck manipulations and committing hundreds of violations.

Victims of Chiropractic Abuse Inc. is suing the Connecticut Chiropractic Council and the Connecticut Chiropractic Association, two trade organizations that represent most of the chiropractors in the state.

The lawsuit comes the same day that a state professional licensing board finalized a ruling that chiropractors are taking the proper steps to inform their patients.

"It is unfortunate that the profession's detractors are attempting to circumvent the decision through legal means," according to a joint statement from the two groups. "We recognize that the individuals behind VOCA are deeply disappointed by today's decision. However, this lawsuit merely continues a campaign to denigrate and defame the chiropractic profession."

The complaint, filed in Hartford Superior Court and in the process of being served Thursday, claims members of the two organizations are leading patients to believe the procedure of neck manipulation is safe by failing or refusing to inform them about the risk of stroke from neck manipulations.

The chiropractors, however, have argued the risks are very low and haven't been proven, and they are unfairly being singled out.

"The time has come to hold chiropractors in this state accountable for their reckless and deceptive actions," said Janet Levy, founder of the patients group. "The defendants and their members have deceived the public for their own financial gain while denying their rights and potentially putting people in harm's way."

Levy's group also accuses the chiropractors of misleading patients and violating state law by using the title of "doctor" in advertising and elsewhere. The group believes the law requires chiropractors to identify themselves as licensed practitioners of chiropractic or doctor of chiropractic.

"I think many people think, when they hear doctor, they think Marcus Welby," said attorney Norm Pattis, referring to the famed physician on the 1970s TV show "Marcus Welby, M.D." Pattis is representing the patients group.

If the chiropractic associations try to claim they don't represent individual chiropractors to avoid the lawsuit, the advocacy group has identified 453 chiropractors it believes have violated state laws, and "we'll start picking them off, one after another," Pattis said.

The group is seeking financial damages, an injunction forbidding what it considers "deceptive tactics" and other relief, such as an order requiring some chiropractors to pay fines.

The lawsuit comes three months after the Connecticut Board of Chiropractic Examiners voted 4-1 to reject a proposed declaratory ruling that would have required chiropractors to warn their patients about the risks of neck manipulations. The board reaffirmed its decision Thursday.

"We went to the Board of Chiropractic Examiners, which is sort of like going to the fox to ask what they like about the chicken coop," said Pattis, who said his clients had no other choice but to file a lawsuit.

Gary Doyens, a spokesman for the chiropractor organizations, said the board is made up of four chiropractors and two members of the public, a larger percentage of public membership than other professional regulatory boards in the state. When the vote was taken in March, one public member was on the chiropractic board.

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