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Dynamic Chiropractic – December 16, 2012, Vol. 30, Issue 26

Help Share "Doctored" (the Verb and the Movie) With the World

By Louis Sportelli, DC

Hopefully as you read this article, most of the world's doctors of chiropractic have now heard about the documentary "Doctored," written and directed by Bobby Sheehan and produced by Jeff Hays.

For practitioners who lived through the 1960s and had first-hand experience with the American Medical Association's (AMA) Committee on Quackery, this powerful documentary provides a stirring vindication for the decades of devastation heaped upon a profession that was neither aware of nor competent to know about or resist the clandestine Machiavellian plot(s) conceived and designed to do one thing: "contain and eliminate" the profession of chiropractic.

"Doctored" (the Verb)

For younger practitioners, many have heard the tales of horror, including that doctors of chiropractic could not acquire even modest privileges at a hospital, nor would many doctors of chiropractic have an easy time making a referral to a medical physician, many of whom refused to accept referrals from unscientific practitioners. The list of insults and humiliation the chiropractic profession endured would take volumes to expose properly.

While the AMA and its shenanigans may to some be old history, and the profession surely must move on, there is wisdom in the words of Judge Susan Getzendanner, who inherently understood that "the lingering effects of the AMA conspiracy would last for decades." Even in the 21st century, there is still evidence of the long-standing feud and deep and ingrained animus that continue to exist.

Doctored (v): to change the content or appearance of (a document or picture) in order to deceive; falsify: "the reports could have been doctored." 2. to alter the content by adding strong or harmful ingredients. "The above definition clearly illustrates what the AMA Committee on Quackery did to the chiropractic profession; they 'doctored' our very soul and destroyed our image in the minds of millions of potential patients, causing them to suffer needlessly." — Dr. Louis Sportelli
One only has to recall the recent Florida State University fiasco and the Texas Medical Association's ongoing attack on chiropractic practice to be convinced that the conspiracy remains. It is deeply wounded and marginally operational, but nonetheless able to do damage as less organized local or state operations, rather than with the full power and authority of the AMA clearly evident. It will take a few more years and a few more replacements of titular heads of archaic organizations before full progress is achieved.

"Doctored" (the Movie)

Back to the documentary and what can be done by individual DCs, groups and organizations to promote and disseminate this liberating film, which tells only some of the story of oppression and tyranny, but enough to arouse the ire of those who understand it and are appalled by the injustice.

Many doctors who have already seen the documentary are absolutely inspired; so much that they want to use this documentary as a tool in the most effective way possible. It is imperative that we expand the information base for a nation that is currently underutilizing chiropractic not because we are ineffective, but because of a long-standing, vicious propaganda campaign designed to do exactly what it did – discredit chiropractic.

10 Ways to Share "Doctored" (the Verb and the Movie)

Here are 10 suggestions on how to utilize "Doctored" to help share the story of this profession with the public. Most of these suggestions will work considerably better if doctors of chiropractic in individual communities join forces to promote the documentary in unified fashion.

  1. Patient advocates: The most obvious way to use "Doctored" is to individually purchase as many DVD copies as your budget permits. There are always those "special" patients who seem to promote chiropractic and your office with enthusiasm. Make a list of those patients and draft a personal letter to each of them, thanking them for their enthusiasm, support and ongoing promotion of chiropractic and your office. Include a complimentary copy of the documentary and suggest they pass it around to as many people as they possibly can. It is a way to get to the core of your most ardent supporters.

  2. Office education: Each individual practitioner has an opportunity to talk about this film in their office and even develop a "lending DVD library" for those patients who may be interested in seeing the documentary. Many patients feel reticence when it comes to telling their medical physician about going to their chiropractor (and occasionally vice-versa). This documentary provides the opening and occasion to recount, in a matter-of-fact way, the struggles patients and chiropractors had to endure as the profession evolved and gained credibility. Many patients will learn considerable information they did not know, and a better-informed patient is transformed into an advocate.

  3. Theater rentals: In communities where there are multiple chiropractors, negotiate with your local movie theater to rent the theater for a night and have a special showing (contact the producer, Jeff Hays, at for details). Have tickets printed to give to patients and encourage them to bring friends and neighbors to expand the influence of this documentary throughout the community. The cost can easily be divided among participating chiropractors, whose names / practices can be listed on the back of each ticket. Individuals can be exposed to the documentary who might not otherwise see it.

  4. Cable television: In communities where there is a cable TV network, negotiate with the network to air the documentary (contact Jeff Hays for details). The cost of cable TV is very inexpensive, and this will certainly reach tens of thousands of individuals – far more than any local promotion you could design.

  5. Legislative outreach: State and national chiropractic associations might consider purchasing enough DVDs to send to every member of their legislative, judicial and executive branches of government. Many of these individuals have no idea about health care history and the AMA's persecution of chiropractic. You could also send a champion legislator a copy of the DVD and request that they share it with their colleagues as a way to expand and increase awareness of chiropractic. Even if only 10 percent view the documentary, it will be a great start toward the education process that must be done to erase decades of propaganda. A carefully-worded cover letter accompanying the DVD will help to enhance the image of the association.

  6. Community education: Every community has community leaders, from members of local governing bodies, Chambers of Commerce and civic clubs to attorneys, community professionals, influential business owners and others. Send a personalized cover letter and a copy of the DVD to these individuals to expand upon the influence and outreach.

  7. Interdisciplinary relationships: Over the years, many doctors of chiropractic have developed strong relationships with medical physicians and other health care professionals. A personal letter with a DVD copy of the documentary may well help to build even stronger relationships. Some have said the documentary will "strain" relationships with medical practitioners, but I simply ask, "How much more strained could relationships be from the initial AMA attack on chiropractic?" The health care community is working toward integration based not on philosophy, but on cost and outcomes. Many do not know, and perhaps would never have known, about the malicious attack upon chiropractic, and most who are fair-minded will understand it is time to move forward.

  8. College recruitment: Many of our chiropractic colleges could use the DVD as part of a recruitment package, showing prospective students the historical underpinning of the profession into which they will enter. History, along with current catalogues and the facilities and educational experience a prospective student will receive, could well make a huge difference in the decision to become a DC.

  9. Student participation: Students may have the most to gain by increasing awareness. Student clubs could be involved with alumni solicitation to encourage field doctors to utilize the DVD in ways outlined above. The enthusiasm of young practitioners is contagious, and it is to their advantage to ensure the widest distribution of the information in the documentary.

  10. Faculty use: Much of the faculty within the chiropractic institutions have historical knowledge of what transpired with the early AMA attacks upon chiropractic. This documentary provides an excellent opportunity for faculty to recount history and demonstrate to students the early history and how today's opportunities are well within their reach. "Doctored" presents a rare occasion to recount our history in a very positive way.

A Powerful Message

There were fears from some segments of the profession that this documentary would fracture relationships that have been developed. Nothing in this documentary is untrue; nothing in this documentary vilifies the medical community. The message emphasizes the abuse and overuse of pharmaceuticals, which today has reached epidemic proportions. Doctors of chiropractic have been championing a rational philosophy – not anti-drug, anti-surgery – but rather, "appropriate drugs and carefully selected patients for surgery," and that sound approach to health care is a very realistic and judicious approach conservative practitioners can be proud to espouse.

"Doctored" (the movie) provides doctors of chiropractic with a powerful tool to counter the doctored attitude the AMA has promulgated directly and indirectly since the establishment of its Committee on Quackery. This is one way to "fight back" with a powerful and timely message about a new health care model – a model doctors of chiropractic have often been criticized for advocating – that has now become the standard.

Click here for previous articles by Louis Sportelli, DC.

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