The audacity of the society's proclamation was greeted with astonishment and frank bewilderment by chiropractors in Canada and the U.S.3
The ASR's motion is meaningless in a legal context, but is a flagrant, discriminatory proclamation reminiscent of the 1994 11-point statement of 13 Canadian pediatricians denouncing chiropractic treatment of children.4 It is also recalls to memory the AMA's Committee on Quackery, whose two-prong mission was to contain and then eliminate the chiropractic profession.
Dynamic Chiropractic has made numerous attempts to attain a copy of the resolution passed at the ASR's meeting, as have newspapers in Calgary and Edmonton. As of press time, the society has been unwilling to comply with that request, failing to return phone calls and facsimiles for information, nor have they been willing to disclose any evidence that gives credence to their decision.
The ASR has defended its action by citing a recent statement from the chiefs of several Canadian pediatric hospitals which said that there is no benefit to children from x-rays ordered by chiropractors.
Calgary radiologist Dr. Marvin Levant said the "recent tragedies" of the chiropractic patients1,2 "reaffirm the decision" made by the society, leaving chiropractors truly perplexed about how those events coincide with denying x-rays for children.
Dr. Levant also trotted out the insipid medical scare tactic, which the Calgary Sun dutifully printed, that "neck adjustments can tear the vertebral arteries which supply blood to the brain," an event that apparently most often occurs in hair salons when the customer's head is placed in extension over a sink to wash the scalp. Dr. Levant also remonstrated against taking too many x-rays, analogous to a politician inveighing against raising taxes.
"The Alberta Society of Radiologists cannot direct its members to refuse to accept requests for consultation and diagnostic imaging on children from chiropractors," bluntly rebuked Allen Halowski, DC, president of the College of Chiropractors of Alberta.
Dr. Halowksi dismissed the society's proclamation as a political maneuver. "We don't take x-rays just for the sake of taking x-rays," he emphasized. "Seven out of 10 times we don't x-ray children who come to see us."
Grayden Bridge, DC, Alberta governor of the Canadian Chiropractic Association, expressed his puzzlement over why the society would take such a position. "If they have any scientific evidence to support this position we would love to see it," Dr. Bridge challenged in an interview with the Alberta Lethbridge Herald. Dr. Bridge's said the society's proclamation was "one more example of the misunderstandings that have traditionally arisen because of the lack of communication between the medical and chiropractic professions,"4 a considerably more measured and diplomatic reaction than that of many chiropractors.
Dr. Bridge asserted that denying x-rays for chiropractic patients puts patients at risk. "I would expect that x-rays would be part of prudent diagnostic testing, whether it is a chiropractor or a medical doctor who is providing the service."
- In Feb. 1998, 20-year-old Laurie Jean Mathiason died two days after receiving a chiropractic adjustment. In the subsequent civil trail, the court learned Ms. Mathiason had a history of performing self-adjustment, despite warnings from her chiropractor. The jury concluded her death was not the result of her chiropractor. (Chiropractic acquitted in Canada. DC, Nov. 2, 1998.)
- Thirty-three-year-old Barbara Hofforth from Olds, Alberta suffered a minor stroke and permanent brain damage following an adjustment from her chiropractor. (Corbella L. Therapy blamed: woman faults treatment for brain injuries. Calgary Sun, Nov. 3, 1998.)
- Shurtz D. Radiology move riles chiropractors. Lethbridge Herald November 4, 1998.
- Orthopractic declares WAR on chiropractic pediatrics. Katz musters Canadian pediatricians for turf war. DC, Sept. 23, 1994.