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Dynamic Chiropractic – May 6, 2008, Vol. 26, Issue 10

Looking Back: 1992

By Editorial Staff

As we celebrate our 25th anniversary as the definitive news and information source for the chiropractic profession, we look back at the important events as reported in DC since 1983, while also looking forward to the future.

Throughout 2008, we will feature a review of the top headlines in chiropractic for a given year, along with an article on the future of chiropractic authored by an influential member of the profession.


January 1992: DuPage Hospital Suit Settled

The two-year-old lawsuit against Central DuPage Hospital's official policy regarding chiropractors has finally been settled. Dr. Chinnici has agreed to drop the case against all defendants. As a result, the hospital has eliminated its policy which restricted access by chiropractors and their patients to the laboratory, X-ray, physical therapy and occupational therapy facilities. The hospital began accepting orders from area DCs for diagnostic outpatient assistance the day after the settlement. In addition, the Mona Kea associations have eliminated the provision in the condominium's declaration that barred the occupation, ownership, or rental of Mona Kea condominium units by doctors of chiropractic. The fact that this incident was featured on the front page of the July 20, 1990 issue of the American Medical News ("Physicians Face Racketeering Charges in Antitrust Case"), demonstrates the importance of the lawsuit to the medical profession. Clearly, they've kept a close watch on the progress of the case. Although the case was dismissed, the positive results brought about by the suit speak for themselves.

January 1992: AMA Settles Wilk Lawsuit

After 15 years, the American Medical Association (AMA) settled the most noteworthy and significant lawsuit ever filed on behalf of chiropractic. Drs. Chester Wilk, Michael Pedigo, James Bryden and Patricia Arthur, led by Mr. George McAndrews, Esq., filed suit in October 1976 against the AMA. In U.S. District Court on Aug. 27, 1987, Judge Susan Getzendanner's 101-page opinion declared the AMA had engaged in a nationwide boycott of doctors of chiropractic by declaring it unethical for MDs to associate professionally with chiropractors. On Feb. 7, 1990, the U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Judge Getzendanner's decision. In November 1990, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review the case.

As part of the settlement, the Jan. 13, 1992 issue of the American Medical News (AMN) published Judge Getzendanner's permanent injunction order against the AMA (AMN pages 4-5), the revised AMA opinion on chiropractors (AMN page 5), and Mr. George McAndrews' 1,996 word essay (AMN pages 5-6). The revised AMA opinion on chiropractors appears as follows:

Revised Paragraph 3.08 of the Current Opinions of the Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs:

Chiropractic: It is ethical for a physician to associate professionally with chiropractors provided the physician believes that such association is in the best interests of his or her patient. A physician may refer a patient for diagnostic or therapeutic services to a chiropractor permitted by law to furnish such services whenever the physician believes that this may benefit his or her patient. Physicians may also ethically teach in recognized schools of chiropractic.


March 1992: Chiropractic Finally Airs on "20/20"

The "20/20" segment on chiropractic had been expected to air as early as November 1991, but because of the scheduling vagaries typical of television news programs, it was delayed. The long-awaited program finally appeared on the evening of Feb. 21, 1992.

Timothy Johnson, MD, medical editor for "20/20," presented the story on chiropractic, beginning with Deborah Mager, a chiropractor who practices just outside of Boston and sees more than 100 patients daily. Dr. Arthur White, an orthopedist at the Spine Center in San Francisco, gave a beautiful testimonial on the value of MDs referring to DCs. There were also ingredients to this report that kept it balanced and investigational. One of these was the inclusion of Dr. Charles Fager, a neurosurgeon at the Leahy Clinic near Boston and a leading critic of many types of back treatment, including unnecessary back surgery.

As a wrap-up, Dr. Johnson pointed out that currently, 90 percent of all spinal manipulation is performed by chiropractors, but there is no reason why osteopaths, physical therapists and even MDs can't provide a greater percentage of this type of care to the public. This gives us something to think about.


September 1992: NIH Awards Fellowship to DC

On June 5, 1992, a day to be noted on the chiropractic historical calendar, Dr. Partap Khalsa received notification that his application for the National Institutes of Health's National Research Service Award for postdoctoral fellows had been approved.

"This award," explained Dr. Khalsa, "is notable in that it is the first time that the NIH has ever made a grant of this type to a chiropractor."

The award constitutes the highest level of support possible for the grant, $105,900 paid in annual stipends of $35,300 over three years. This amount is significant because the NIH normally bases its level of grant support on the applicant's years of postdoctorate training. When it came time to evaluate support criteria in his case, Dr. Khalsa said his clinical experience was deemed "analogous to postdoctoral research."

Dr. Khalsa graduated from Los Angeles College of Chiropractic in 1980. In 1992, he obtained a master's degree in biomedical engineering from Boston University, and is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Dr. Khalsa's research will focus on neurophysiology and soft-tissue biomechanics.


September 1992: ACA Wins an Emmy

"Steroids - Not Worth the Risk," a public service announcement that aired on more than 500 television stations and cable outlets, and more than 1,200 radio stations, received an Emmy Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) during a public service awards banquet at the Marriott Marquis Hotel on Aug. 26, 1992 in New York City. The ACA spot brought attention to the dangers of steroid use and the healthier alternative of natural bodybuilding and health care.

The public service announcement was written and produced by Irvin Davis, president of Clayton-Davis & Associates, Inc., public relations consultant of the American Chiropractic Association (ACA). The coveted winged-lady statuette was presented by NATAS Chairman Michael Collyer and President John Cannon to ACA Chairman Kerwin Winkler, DC, President John Pammer, DC and Davis.

In accepting the Emmy, Davis gave credit to the chiropractic profession's dedication to the public's welfare, and pointed to chiropractic as a conscientious and cost-effective profession. He congratulated the ACA for its leadership and thanked broadcasters across the country for cooperating in the association's public relations campaign.

This public recognition for chiropractic's largest national association has an ironic twist: Before learning it would be the recipient of chiropractic's first Emmy, the ACA decided to discontinue the public service announcements. It will be interesting to see if the ACA reverses its decision now.


October 1992: VA Funds Cervical Diagnostic Pilot Study

The Rehabilitation Research and Development Service of the Department of Veterans' Affairs has approved the pilot study, "Biomechanics of Cervical Diagnostic Maneuvers." The study has a tentative start date of Oct. 1, 1992, and will be funded through Sept. 30, 1993. The Rehabilitation Research and Development Service will provide $48,495 to support the research endeavor.

The objective of the study, in the words of the investigators, is to "quantify and describe the biomechanical events that occur during orthopedic diagnostic testing conducted on neck pain patients." All but one of the project's investigators is from National College of Chiropractic: Maruti R. Gudavalli, PhD (principle investigator); John J. Triano, MA, DC (co-principle investigator); Marion McGregor, DC, MSc (investigator); and Robert Havey, BS (biomedical engineer). The VA representative is Avinash G. Patwardhan, PhD (co-principle investigator).

The investigative team spelled out its proposal to the VA: "[E]stablish the feasibility of (1) conducting in-vitro experiments to measure the biomechanical events; and (2) use a computer model to predict these events." The in-vitro experiments will be conducted on five fresh cadaveric cervical spine specimens to measure the vertebral displacements, ligament stretches, ligament loads, and vertebral artery stretch.

Although the pilot study is of one-year duration, Drs. Gudavalli and Triano expect to continue this type of work for five years. They predict that over the course of the latter three years of their work, clinicians can expect to receive information of value to their practices.

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