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Dynamic Chiropractic – July 1, 1994, Vol. 12, Issue 14

Operation "Response-Able" -- Part II

By Allen Roberds, DC
Editor's Note: Allen Roberds, DC a graduate of Texas Chiropractic College, is a clinician and author. Dr. Roberds and his wife Marla are hosts of "Second Opinon," a Tennessee syndicated radio program. The Roberds aired a response to the Stanford survey on the dangers of chiropractic cervical manipulation reported by the American Heart Association, which culminated in the Associated Press release that garnered sensational headlines across the country. Part I of Dr. Roberds' article appeared in the June 3, 1994 issue of "DC."

We advised listeners that what was to follow might seem a little foreign to some raised on doctor worship, but it was not medical bashing, just plain fact; that after almost 100 years of medicine's unabashed "chiro-bashing," a little chiropractic truth may sound unfamiliar but is entirely overdue. "So let us all play by the same rules. If medicine had not lied about chiropractic, chiropractic would not have to tell the truth about medicine," we added.

Then, without malice, we dispassionately told them: Every year 50,000 people die and many more are injured due to 2.4 million unnecessary surgeries, which includes 66,080 unnecessary gallbladder operations; 34,000 unnecessary hemorrhoidectomies; 506,800 unnecessary tonsillectomies; and 173,140 unnecessary hysterectomies.3

Ninety percent of angiograms are considered unnecessary, accounting for 4,500 deaths a year, while the angiogram is considered one of the most inaccurate test in modern medicine; two to four percent of angioplasty patients die during the procedure, or within one year;4 about five percent of bypass patients die as a result of surgery, yet only 1.9 percent die from heart disease itself; and over $10 million a day is spent on unnecessary heart by-pass surgery, resulting in 14,000 to 28,000 deaths per year.5

Up to 160,000 people die and 1.6 million people are hospitalized because of drug reactions, and in 1991 drug companies spent over $13 million every day to persuade consumers to buy their products, accounting for one third of all advertising.

Two-hundred and thirty-thousand people are injured, 135,000 of them seriously,6 and 40,000 people die -- one study reports 155,000 deaths7 -- due to medical malpractice, which is now the number one cause of all accidental deaths in the U.S., not to mention inoculation deaths and injuries. Each year two million people get infections in the hospital, which they did not have on admittance, and 100,000 of these patients die of that infection, and in 25 percent of the deaths, the allopathors did not even know the infection was present until autopsy.8 Add it up, America.

The Haight-Ashbury Free Medical Clinic reports: 40,000 allopaths are alcoholics; 4,000 are addicted to drugs; one-fifth of these are cocaine addicts, and three-fourths of the coke addicts are abusing as many as seven additional drugs.9

An Associated Press article on the AMA's Sixth National Conference of Impaired Physicians estimates that 7,000 allopaths, more than half of which are surgeons, suffer from cognitive impairment as a result of age. Another 40,000 are so emotionally disturbed, they should not even be in practice.10 The generally accepted figure, according to the Medical Insurance Exchange in New Jersey, is that there are 100 impaired allopaths per 1,000 or one in 10.11

A 10-year study showed that only 10 percent of drugs are likely to do what they claim, but they are so dangerous they are rarely prescribed, while 10 percent are questionable, 10 percent are doubtful, and 70 percent absolutely fail.12 (Doctors, only modern medicine could thrive with this kind of track record. They know the overriding power of the media to mold public perception. Lavish funding, to the tune of $13 million per day, every day, is allocated to "educate" the public year after year. Medics don't have to worry about educating their patients because they have someone else doing it for them! (Get it?)

We continued: "Where is the science of which modern medicine is the self-proclaimed defender, that supports the germ theory of disease, or the efficacy of artificial inoculations? Where are the patient outcome measures on drugging sick patients, back surgery, radiation treatment and psychotherapy? If it exists, let us see it.

"We are not against medicine, per se, if they would stick to what they know: emergency intervention and first aid. But we strongly object to the widespread, unscientific, dangerous, and often fatal use of unnecessary drugs and surgery under the guise of health care, when other methods have proven to be safer, more effective, less costly, and virtually harmless to the patient."

We reminded listeners that "although we applaud medicine's ability to handle crisis care and we admire the real heroes of medicine in the emergency room, it is not health care. It is sick care. Health care is designed to restore, maintain, and enhance health. Drugs and surgery may save your life in an emergency, but will never make you healthy, and medicine must recognize its limitations."

We admonished the media and pharmico-medical business that they would do better to report on the grave matters mentioned above, which are much more urgent than the alleged dangers of chiropractic care. And they should spend more time investigating and reporting the latest and real breakthroughs in research that reveal the scientific basis for the proven and clear cut effectiveness, economy, safety of, and patient satisfaction with chiropractic care: rather than the plethora of "exciting," "amazing," and "heroic" medical "breakthroughs" promising a cure (always just on the horizon, hmmmm) for this or that (if they could have just a little more time and a lot more money).

We closed our broadcast with the reminder that the chiropractic profession remains willing to work with any scientifically based practitioner, but we eschew the pseudo-science, which is based on modern medicine's ill-considered presupposition that if something cannot be explained (to their satisfaction, of course), it therefore cannot exist and damn the results.

We assured the audience that doctors of chiropractic get along perfectly well with other types of practitioners when the patient's well being is the first priority, rather than who "owns" or gets to "treat" the patient.

"Second Opinion" has been "response-able" like this directly to the public within a matter of days to every major attack on chiropractic in the last four years, while continuing to educate, entertain, and bring more patients and legislators to chiropractic as a result.

When the "20/20" pediatric story came out, we went directly to the public and put Drs. Larry Webster and Palmer Pete on "Second Opinion." We helped Dr. Debra Majors go directly to the public when "20/20" distorted her statements in a previous program.

Routinely, "Second Opinion" opens up a whole new listening audience for chiropractic with such chiropractic luminaries as Drs. Chester Wilk, Joe Flesia, Malik Slosberg, John Lowe, Jeff Rockwell, Lou Sportelli, Dick Versendaal, and Ted Koren. We've presented important authors (Barbara Loe Fisher, Dean Black, and Neil Miller), chiropractic supporters (David Chapman-Smith, George McAndrews), and legislators, etc. We answer questions about chiropractic from callers (including allopathors), and hear from enthusiastic chiropractic patients just calling in to tell their own chiropractic story.

Consider the impact on everyone's practice and politics of having "Second Opinion" in every city and state, entertaining and educating patients, making it possible for chiropractors to focus on their practices, while chiropractic itself goes directly to the public. And if necessary, call the medics to task and putting them on the carpet for a change, but always with an upbeat focus on telling the chiropractic story, through an American Chiropractic Radio Network. Consider the possibilities.

This war on chiropractic is just heating up. To quote the ICA: "There can be no doubt that the chiropractic profession will be subjected to an ongoing barrage of critical news reports and broadcasts in the coming months ... highly misleading and critical stories about chiropractic are proliferating."

To quote the ACA: "Across the nation, the chiropractic profession is taking a bashing. Sensational stories in the media, ... all of them aimed at portraying the chiropractic profession in the worst possible light."

Chiropractors can no longer remain silent, without also being guilty by omission of the tragic and unnecessary carnage that goes on in this country in the name of health care in spite of the good intentions of many MDs.

Dr. Chester Wilk said this on "Second Opinion": "If we could get 500 chiropractors on the air like you Dr. Roberds, telling it like it is, we would take over the health industry!"

Yet most doctors do not have either the time, money, experience, or inclination to set up a professional production team: to do the investigating, researching, documenting, booking, programming, producing, and hosting, all necessary to create a program of which all chiropractors can be proud; then take the heat, run a successful practice, and have a rewarding family life, as well. Doctors have enough to do.

We face a moral battle and struggle for survival that can no longer be avoided. Why chiropractors sit back and take the medical establishment's slandering when medicine's Achilles' heel is so exposed and chiropractic has such overpowering ammunition at its disposal for winning this battle? It staggers the imagination. What are some chiropractors afraid of, that the medics will strike them dead?

We must abandon tired old solutions (and differences) that have never worked. Doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result is crazy.

It would be naive to expect all chiropractors to agree with 100 percent of what is presented on "Second Opinion," anymore than conservatives agree 100 percent with Rush Limbaugh. But you can bet they want to keep him right where he is because his overall influence creates great political clout, as he goes directly to the public.

Imagine a network not of 500 doctors, but of 500 radio stations supported by doctors of chiropractic, not only providing professional, timely, rebuttals to medical propaganda, if necessary, but also consistently promoting the health benefits and positive value of chiropractic care, directly to the public, every week year after year.

Surprisingly, it would take only 10 radio stations per state and if we all united at last, less than 50 cents a day per doctor to get it done. Who knows, with a corporate sponsor or two we might even generate enough revenue to fund some seriously needed research, the Centennial, etc.

Fifty cents a day does not begin to touch the $13 million per day medicine spends. But "the voice of chiropractic" is unique and refreshing to the public and they are beginning to perceive a new patient advocate and champion. They also appreciate and are beginning to admire chiropractic's David and Goliath stance with political medicine.

No, it is not a quick fix, practice builder for doctors, nor for the faint-hearted few still in awe of and intimidated by the medics (which I believe is our profession's most insidious and greatest weakness). Nor is it for those who still believe medicine will ever release its strangle hold on health care without our chiropractic demand. But it is the ultimate practice builder because it is a profession builder.

We stand on the shoulders of the magnificent chiropractors who stood up to political medicine yesterday. If not for those brave few, we would not have a chiropractic profession today. Anyone who refuses to believe that to have a chiropractic profession tomorrow, we have to stand up to political medicine, is out of touch.

Chiropractic in addition to being an art is a philosophy and a science. Science without philosophy is precisely what has given us the calamity that is medicine today, whose very solutions are the problem contrary to the misguided notions of some cerebral types who deign with best intentions to rescue chiropractic from its "irksome philosophy and threadbare science" and turn us into "real doctors" where explanation is more important than patient outcome.

I have said it before, doctor: You and chiropractic are the best and brightest hope America has for a real health care system. It is the moral obligation and duty of every chiropractor to make sure patients get the facts about chiropractic and medicine, and let patients decide about their health care. That's freedom of choice. We must be swift, bold, resolute, and act without malice, and only upon the evidence. The airways are a trust which we must hold sacred, even if others forget.

Everyone's children deserve to know and receive the benefits of what we teach and give our own children. Will you be "response-able?" Is it worth 50 cents a day to enlighten the American public about health, medicine, and chiropractic so you can get back to taking care of your patients?

As we do the right thing (simply because it is the right thing to do), we will prevail, because we are right. We may not have them outnumbered but we most certainly have them out-gunned. It's that simple. If you'd like to know more about how to sponsor "Second Opinion" in your area, call Marla: (615) 298-4747, or fax (615) 383-4485.


3. Watkins WJ. Consumer watch, Reserve, July/August 1976.

4. Whitaker Julian, MD. Special report, Health and Healing, p. 11.

5. Ibid.

6. Watkins WJ. Consumer watch, Reserve, July/August 1976.

7. a) Ritter J. Chicago Sun Times, February 10, 1992.

b) Spectrum, the holistic news magazine, #33, Nov/Dec, 1993, p. 15.

8. Watkins WJ. The epidemic of medical malpractice, Gallery, 1976.

9. Ibid.

10. Ibid.

11. Ibid.

12. National Academy of Science, a study (1962-1969), reported by Larry Webster, DC, postgraduate license renewal seminar 1991.

Allen Roberds, DC
Nashville, Tennessee


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