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Dynamic Chiropractic – March 14, 1990, Vol. 08, Issue 06

AMA Loses Appeal: Chicago Four Mopping Up

By Debi Pugliese

To use the word "objectionable" when one refers to some of America's history is something like saying, "Einstein was pretty good with numbers." Somehow the English language fails pitifully when we contemplate the struggle in righting wrongs which comprise some of our darker history. It still beggars the imagination to recall that once upon a time in this country, it was a "punishable crime for a black person to read or write." This, (if you'll pardon the word) "objectionable" injustice spelled out decades of oppression and grief doled out by those who were motivated by profit, peer-pressure and numerous fears of unjustifiable origin.

Our historical annals well-chronicle a long and difficult battle and bears the names of those whose struggle preceded a hard-earned recognition and protection within our judiciary system. Their stories are made up of the substance of a brand of grit and perseverance that finally cracked open the doors of schooling and education for our nation's blacks.

In the not-too-distant past, a peek into chiropractic's historical back-yard revealed another sort of "objectionable" discriminatory practice which was met with little resistance and went virtually untethered for decades.

Actually labeled as "rabid dogs who kill people," chiropractors were, for the most part, a minority group who had been forced to subsist on the outermost fringe of the health care community. Held in general contempt by physicians and patients who were the victims of vicious lies spread by a covert group within organized medicine, they were misunderstood, feared and ostracized.

It's interesting how, in the flow of history -- again and again there is always a core figure or figures who rise above themselves, their tormentors, and seemingly insurmountable odds. In the telling of history we learn these were often ordinary individuals of extraordinary courage who dared to take a stand against those enemies who sought to suppress or squash them into extinction. As these stories evolve, we learn too that these same characters remained stalwart and unafraid for themselves, but feared only for that in which they believed.

And so with the chiropractic profession , they were four courageous chiropractors named, Dr. Patricia Arthur, Dr. James Bryden, Dr. Michael Pedigo, and Dr. Chester Wilk. They believed that the only way to end the oppression was to take it into the legal arena, into court, the battleground of the 20th Century.

And the battle waged -- for nearly 14 years. After 11 years, in September of 1987, victory was theirs, led by legal counsel of the highest caliber, one, George P. McAndrews. A victory cry went up, throughout the chiropractic profession, but almost immediately a dark cloud moved across the face of our victors as our opponents, the AMA rose once again to attempt to overturn the new found justice in Judge Susan Getzendanner's "guilty" verdict.

Nearly three years later, another victory goes to chiropractic. These individuals have not and will not stop and will not rest until this "war" is over. Their thoughts, their words are recorded for the profession in this issue of Dynamic Chiropractic today -- leading us, admonishing us and reminding us that for chiropractic, though much has been accomplished there is yet much work to be done.


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