I am not in the habit of quoting B.J., but I wrote this line in the cover of one of B.J.'s green books that I gave to my nephew Scott when he went off to Life College some time ago.
At the time I wrote it, my intent was to instill in Scott the knowledge that school was an educational process, but also that there was more than education at stake. I wanted him to know that he must always listen to the "small voice" within him when confronted with difficult decisions, and that compassion and love for his fellow man must come first.
Recently, the profession has been presented with a quandary: Do we change or do we continue with what has made us great? The few who would change us have sought to denigrate our philosophical roots and to convince us that anyone who "believes" is less than a moron. They point out that only through chiropractic "based on evidence" can we be truly accepted. Those few false prophets are seeking to cause us to forsake and discredit our findings in the field -- like our patients getting well.
Distortion of the facts by these people will not claim the day. No matter which college you have graduated from, all of us have been taught and have seen that chiropractic really does work. Now more than ever we need to remain steadfast in our knowledge that what we are doing is good for mankind and different from allopathy. Merely highlighting the failures of medicine will not make us great, nor will it keep us in favor with the powers that be. It, in fact, will remove us from the center stage of health care.
To state that the term "drugless" is perceived by the public as blind dogma is a blatant lie by those who are pushing for the use of all types of drugs in our profession. The theory that it is a "seriously flawed professional judgment" not to use drugs is a slap in the face of 100 years of service to our patients as the alternative to drugs and surgery. The position of chiropractic is not that of opposing the use of drugs in any method of care, but rather that there is a different method of care that chooses not to use drugs and surgery. It is not a cowardly things that doctors of chiropractic refer to other health care practitioners when it is warranted, but more a sign of responsible and mature judgment based on doing what is best for the patient. Other professions make use of referral when appropriate. What makes these few disbelievers think that they must be all things to all people? Why must they destroy an entire profession, alter its basic premise and reason for existence, just because a fearful few feel the need to change career paths.
Chiropractic is steadily gaining prestige throughout the world as a respected form of health care. Are we to change it now because several past ACA presidents want us to? Where are the national associations' responses to this deceptive and damaging proposal? I know for a fact that the ICA is totally opposed to the DCM degree. Is the ACA also totally opposed? No "states' rights" ploy this time, just a clear and simple statement of opposition will do.
I propose that any college that wishes to change their program to include drugs and surgery change their name and remove the word "chiropractic" from their title. Let them choose their own name and let them go through the time-consuming process of gaining recognition and accreditation for their own new profession. Let them raise the necessary funding for choosing to go their own way, rather than "piggy-back" on the blood, sweat, and tears of a century of hard work and sacrifice by our predecessors. But, of course, this won't happen. In order to make chiropractic medicine work, it must first eliminate chiropractic. It will attempt to do this by holding up the DCM degree as a "higher form" of chiropractic, a more "scientific" form, and a more "acceptable" form. They will even say it will be a "better form" of patient care, regardless of the recent findings concerning the overuse and abuse of antibiotics and the like. They will have to rebuke and disown all 50,000 of us in order to fulfill their mission.
They say they don't want us to change and that they are not rescinding chiropractic. They are just "adding" to it, and making it more clinically acceptable. They don't want us to think that all of this is about drugs. Drugs would only be "a minor" part of their health care delivery. Of course, they will use drugs "when necessary," but only so they can become primary care providers.
All this couldn't be a ploy by our good friends in the drug industry, and a plan from the medical community to finally set in motion the "final solution" to their chief competitor, could it? Nah, that's just plain silly isn't it? But if it were, our buddies would certainly be playing into their hands.
How about two-tiered chiropractic? "Hey doc, which one are you? One of those better educated guys, or just a plain old chiropractor?" Don't laugh if you don't think the above would happen. We could just be nice old bone poppers or real doctors. How do you think this will be viewed by our enemies? They can say, "See, we told you so. Even their own school says that they don't have enough education. Maybe we had better rethink any new legislation concerning them until they are up to standard medical education."
For now, the debate rages on. Some DCs will write letters in favor of DCM, and their numbers will be blown out of proportion to make other DCs feel that "everyone" wants to change. Don't believe it. The vast majority of us will write letters demanding the preservation of our profession and the removal of those who want to be third-rate osteopaths, putting them in their own schools. Many more will join with the ICA and, I hope, the ACA in support of our views.
I see this as chiropractic's own battle for freedom of choice, and we are demanding no less than the preservation of the profession. I am tired of being ridiculed for caring for my patients through chiropractic care. I say to those who want to become doctors of chiropractic medicine, great! But get out of my profession, and go and start your own, or even better yet, go to a "real doctor school" so you can practice what you profess to want. This way, you won't do real harm to the millions of patients seeking wellness care through chiropractic.
John Hofmann, DC, FICA
Allen Park, Michigan