We can all agree that the current health delivery system in America is sadly lacking and needs to be overhauled and redirected toward a better course. One the most effective ways is the "sandwich method" in which we lay our foundation for criticism, make the criticism, then offer a reasonable solution on how to make things better. In other words, we sandwich our criticism between a solid foundation of facts supporting our criticism and offering a reasonable solution.
We've all heard critics who seem to find fault with everything but do not come up with any reasonable solutions. They come off sounding like kooks. We can't afford to fall into this trap. Chiropractic still suffers with a stigma in many circles and so it is critical that we lay a solid foundation before criticizing.
To lay the foundation we need to rely on the most solid, undisputed facts that we can find to make our case: government commissioned studies; studies done by prominent universities utilizing PhDs as independent referees; statistics of state workers' compensation records showing chiropractic to be superior within its realm; and the better results of chiropractic care over medical care within medical hospital settings. These are but a few examples. We also have instances where medical doctors found that chiropractors had better results than they did with some cases. A classic example of this is when the largest HMO in the entire southeastern United States, AV MED Health Maintenance Organization, chose to evaluate the results of chiropractic treatment on 100 patients, 80 of whom the MDs considered "medical failures." After receiving chiropractic adjustments, 86 percent of the entire group were corrected. All 12 of the patients in the group diagnosed by MDs as needing disc surgery had their problems corrected with the chiropractic care and avoided surgery. When you properly combine all of these studies you will create an overwhelming case for chiropractic that cannot be disputed or challenged. It becomes an open and shut case.
Once a solid case is established, then we can make strong, critical and candid statements without being considered excessive. We can say something like: "In light of the overwhelming facts that we have going for chiropractic today, if any MDs continue to ignore or isolate this effective treatment, particularly if they are aware of these facts, they transcend ignorance. It becomes either a case of fraud by exclusion or stupidity or both. In fact, top spokespersons within the medical field are now acknowledging that chiropractic has more scientific data supporting its realm of therapy than medicine, and that medical treatments are often less effective and dangerous. This criticism is not directed at medicine but rather at the fraud by exclusion that is injuring the public."
We can all agree that statement is candid and harsh, and some meek chiropractors may prefer to soften their criticism of the current health care crisis. However, I don't believe we can create the kind of necessary reform by soft peddling the facts. We can't use ordinary delivery to create the extraordinary reform that this nation needs. We've been soft peddling the facts too long and we find ourselves facing one "crisis" after another. We are dealing with a deeply prejudiced and ignorant society which will require extraordinary approaches if we are to jolt this society into seeing the truth.
When we speak about "fraud, deceit, dishonesty, and stupidity," we are using volatile words, to say the least. However, if they are delivered with compassion and concern for the public's welfare, and as responsible people who have laid a solid foundation for these comments, who can fault us?
These words are strong enough on their own merits and the last thing we want to do is present them with anger. It is extremely tempting to exhibit anger or frustration when we present such powerful statements, but resist the temptation at all costs. This approach was used by a chiropractor in a Detroit radio station interview on chiropractic. He was able to generate the largest number of call-ins ever in the history of that station! And they were all positive calls for chiropractic.
Many of us have seen and can remember the debate between Mr. Perot and Vice President Gore over the NAFTA issue. The NAFTA agreement was controversial and there were "trade offs" on jobs to be gained and lost if it passed. However, Perot lost miserably because he lost his cool and was condescending, whereas Gore came off thoughtful and concerned. Perot beat himself with the tone and attitude of his presentation, and NAFTA passed a few days later. Many observers feel that Perot succeeded to bring out just the opposite outcome of NAFTA that he was hoping to achieve by his tone of presentation.
Following these candid opening remarks we can reach out to the medical profession by saying something like, "This is not intended as a put down of medicine which is an honorable and dignified profession, but it is not the only profession. We need to reach out to each other and utilize the best that each has to offer suffering humanity. Both professions are fully recognized and state licensed professions. Both professions should respect each other's ability and conduct themselves honorably and without professional bias but rather with a spirit of doing what is proven to be clinically superior and in the best interest of patients."
There isn't an opponent in this entire world that can fault or stand up against this kind of rationalization and come up with anything less than a very weak second best. This is why I am so bullish about chiropractic. We are absolutely right with our position, and any critic is wrong to stand in its way, that any confrontation would be a "no contest." We just need to understand the basics and then take the initiative with the media and legislators.
It is very important that we convey the fact that the public is the biggest loser. We must act as the champions of the people; any less becomes self-serving and "sour grapes" on our part. Bring out the fact that 80,000 unnecessary disc surgeries are done annually, that approximately 1,000 people die every week from unnecessary surgery, that another 100,000 die annually and 1 and a half million people are hospitalized from medication reactions annually, and that the patients are the losers from a lack of closer interprofessional cooperation.
In the spring of 1994, I will begin offering my services to speak on any radio talk show in the country by telephone. This means I don't even have to leave my home or office. Modern technology has made radio interviews at home almost the same as being in the radio studio and a lot more convenient.
If you would like to have me appear on one of your radio talk shows then contact the station and see if you can arrange it. The station will not charge you for these interviews if they feel it is newsworthy or of public interest. It will be your job to show them how important and newsworthy the interview would be for their radio station. After you had obtained enough interest to gain a commitment then call me and let's set up a date to do a talk show. Usually on the day of an interview the station will call me just before going on the air, and patch me into the studio so I can be on the air. I will be contributing my time at no cost and so you can get some totally free exposure on radio. And when you consider that advertising can cost hundreds of dollars for 30 or 60 seconds on the air, we can get some big time exposure absolutely free. Now, that is a real win/win situation.
Chester Wilk, DC
5130 W. Belmont Ave.
Chicago, IL 60641
Tele: (312) 725-4878
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