Science or Quackery

Letters to the Editor in response to Danielle Smith's op-ed piece in the Calgary Herald

Les Shaw's Letter to the Editor was printed in the May 26, 2004 editionof the Calgary Herald.

Safe Practices

Re: "Science or quackery?" Danielle Smith, Opinion, May 22.

Danielle Smith's column presents information in a misleadingmanner. Three million Canadians each year seek chiropractic care andbenefit from one of the most effective and conservative treatments forneck and back conditions. The five cases Smith notes span the entirecountry, over more than eight years. In only two of these cases was aformal inquiry deemed necessary. In both instances, the juries found nodirect causation to chiropractic.

The Herald reported the same day that one in 13 patients inCanadian hospitals suffers an adverse event as a result of medical care,and that 16 out of every 1000 hospital deaths can be linked to theseadverse effects. Should Alberta close all hospitals tomorrow?

Chiropractic works within a framework of standards of care. Asfully trained health professionals, chiropractors provide significantbenefits and well-being to their patients.

It is sad Smith feels it appropriate to fuel the grief of thesefamilies with inaccuracies.

Les Shaw
Edmonton
Les Shaw is President of the College of Chiropractors of Alberta.

Moratorium now

Re: "Science or quackery?", Danielle Smith, Opinion, May 22 and "Safepractices," Letter, Les Shaw, May 26.

My family deeply appreciated Danielle Smith's demand for HealthMinister Gary Mar to call a moratorium on all chiropractic high neckmanipulation. Mar should not hide behind the myth that this is a matterfor the College of Chiropractors to regulate. Just as the safety ofmedications lies outside the regulation of the College of Physicians andSurgeons, so is the lack of safety of neck manipulation beyond theregulatory body of chiropractic.

That Les Shaw of the College of Chiropractors in Alberta would saythat in two formal inquiries "the juries found no direct causation tochiropractic" shows the body has long since abdicated any meaningfulrole. In fact, in both of these inquiries the juries came back with aseries of recommendations for chiropractic treatment, all in an effortto prevent another death under similar circumstances.

A normal regulatory body would be scientific, but with almost allchiropractors and their regulators promoting neck manipulations foreveryone from newborn babies to senior citizens, with many onanti-coagulants, suffering high blood pressure, atherosclerosis andosteoporosis, there is no safety. Chiropractors are manipulating thehigh neck for every affliction and disease and it's time Mar realizedsomething is wrong with this picture.

Most of the victims are young women with nothing wrong with them.Please do not let us have any more dead or disabled young people. Noone will die or suffer in any way if chiropractic high neck manipulationis stopped.

SHARON J. MATHIASONSASKATOONSHARON MATHIASON IS THE MOTHER OF LAURIE JEAN MATHIASON, 20, WHO DIEDAFTER CHIROPRACTIC NECK MANIPULATION.

Mar shouldn't wait

Re:"Safe practices," Letter, May 26

The claim by Dr. Les Shaw, president of the College of Chiropractors, that "the (inquest) juries found no direct causation to chiropractic" in the deaths of Laurie Jean Mathiason and Lana Dale Lewis is patently false and cruel. It shows the total moral and scientific bankruptcy of the College, the body that is supposed to protect the public. I know, as I testified at the Mathiason inquest and I worked very closely with the Lewis's family.

The best way for Health Minister Gary Mar to react to such a claim is to finally acknowledge that those who regulate chiropractic have nothing of merit to contribute.

Mar must seek advice from the scientists and order an immediate moratorium on all chiropractic highest neck manipulation.

It is well known that the chiropractors think they have Mar in their back pocket and to date, he has said that he would leave it up to the chiropractic regulators to act on the issue. Shaw's claims show this is ont a worthy approach.

Murray Katz, MDDollard des Ormeaux, Que.