THE CHIROPRACTIC RESPONSE TO CRITICISM:
PERSONAL ATTACKS, SLANDER, PHYSICAL THREATS, LAWSUITS, FALSE CLAIMS, and SECRET BROWN ENVELOPES.
The validity or lack of such for health claims by chiropractors can be
easily examined. The fundamentals of anatomy, neurology and the other basic
sciences of the body are not a secret. Subluxation diagnosis on a x-ray is
black and white. It should be easy to demonstrate in an objective manner
from one professional to the other.
In the same manner, if a chiropractor claims the neck bones of a child with
an ear infection are out of place, this should be demonstrated. A so-called
"adjustment" could then be made. The differences before and after then
When chiropractors are asked to provide this evidence, on the same basis as
would any physician, the answer is to play with words. We "don't really
"treat" anything, we just help the body get better on its own". Every means
is used to avoid dealing with the exact issue.
Should anyone criticize chiropractic, the response again is words and in
many cases, dirty tricks. I am a particular target because I went inside
the chiropractic organization and actually joined under an assumed name. I
was not the only person to do so. All of us who really know what is going
on have been subject to the same types of dirty tricks.
Despite their tremendous political success, the entire business of
chiropractic hangs by a thread called "subluxation" Vertebrae are out of
place, nerves are being pinched, the entire health of the body is affected.
They cannot defend this idea by evidence. They then must resort to dirty
tricks and word games. They must be great at playing both "scramble" and
The favorite method of intimidation is lawsuits. This even included myself
and three of the Chiefs of our Canadian Pediatric Hospitals. I felt I was
in good company. When they saw they were getting no where, they dropped
their case, as they always do. The last thing they want is to have to
defend their philosophy in an open Court of Law.
I do not know all the things that have been said. I can only comment on
some of the more common accusations.
THE NEW ZEALAND COMMISSION
In 1978 I was invited to New Zealand to speak on behalf of the New Zealand
Medical Association as well as the New Zealand Physiotherapy Association. I
also worked in close consultation with the New Zealand Consumers Council,
the equivalent in the United States of Consumer's Union, the organization
that publishes Consumer Reports Magazine.
In my personal C.V. I correctly claimed that I had worked as a consultant
for both the Manitoba Health services Commission (I was hired by Dr. Pat
Doyle) and the Ontario Ministry of Health (I was personally hired by the
Minister of Health, Richard Potter.
The chiropractors completely ignored my testimony and instead produced a
letter from a Mr. Crofford from Manitoba, whom I had never met. They also
produced a letter from Frank Miller, the new Minister of health from
Ontario, whom I had never met. Both letters stated that I had never worked
as a consultant for either government.
Despite my protests and promise to submit to the Commission absolute proof
of my claims, the New Zealand Commissioner simply concluded that my claims
were a "policy of lies and fraud".
Subsequent to my return, I received letters from both Mr. Doyle and from
T.R Edward's, Executive Director of the Manitoba Health Services
Commission. These letters stated that I had in fact "certainly provided
consultation to the Manitoba Health Services Commission on the matter of
chiropractic services". Likewise I produced a signed copy of my
consultation agreement with the Ontario Ministry of Health.
The chiropractors were informed of this. Negotiations took place between
Charles Mark of Manning Bruce, the representative of the Ontario
Chiropractic Association and my Lawyer, Irwin Fefergrad of Goodman and
Fefergrad. On January 21, 1980 I received the enclosed letter. It stated
clearly that the chiropractors "were in agreement" that I did "certainly
function as a consultant at the very least with the Ministry of Health in
Ontario and Manitoba". Furthermore, I was offered a Statutory Declaration
of apology to that effect.
" You will be provided with a Statutory Declaration as to the names of all
the institutions and people whom we communicated with the contents of the
letter respecting the defamatory action."
"The letter will go out to these people in a form acceptable and agreeable
to us retracting the original statement" ("Irwin Fefergrad B.C.L.L.B. Legal
Counsel for Murray S. Katz M.D.)
On that basis, I dropped my legal action.
The remarks of the Commission were based on completely false and misleading
information that the chiropractors have known to be so since 1980.
At the recent Inquest into the death of Laurie Jean Mathiason, I acted as
an expert coroner's witness. When the chiropractors became aware that I
would be doing so, they attempted to spread the New Zealand lies with the
Saskatchewan Court. They were quickly cut off by the Coroner. The Court had
already been supplied with the truth. Once the chiropractors were aware
that the Court was fully informed, they withdrew all accusations.
They also attempted with the Saskatchewan Inquiry to spread further lies
about my relationship to the orthopractic guidelines and an article that I
wrote in the Medical Post magazine. Again, they were told not to bring us
The chiropractors have also claimed that the New Zealand Commission
completely ignored all that I had to say and "dismissed me".
In fact, the New Zealand Commission stated, "We found a limited number of
ideas which Dr. Katz expressed valuable to us in throwing a new light on
some aspects of our inquiry, and in suggesting some matters which we should
take into account, which we might otherwise have overlooked". (p. 114)
The Commission accepted my basic advice on the three most essential points.
First, the need for a medical referral before a chiropractor should
undertake therapy. Second, the rejection of the use of the title "doctor"
by chiropractors. Third, the rejection of the basic chiropractic claim that
manual therapy can be used to treat all disease.
The New Zealand Commission stated that the most important consideration "is
that members of the public might quite easily be misled into believing that
the chiropractor practicing behind the last two nameplates (i.e. doctor) is
in fact a medical practitioner÷" The Commission did not want the public to
believe that "chiropractic is a medical specialty".
The New Zealand Commission clearly stated in Recommendation 5 that it
rejected the notion that "chiropractic treatment will necessarily cure or
alleviate any organic or visceral disorder" The Commission also recommended
that patients not see chiropractors without a medical referral. If the
recommendations of this commission had been followed, Laurie Jean Mathiason
would be alive today.
In rejecting chiropractic philosophy, the real intent of the New Zealand
Commission was to promote an orthopractic concept of manual therapy. There
were no guidelines at that time. Had there been, the word orthopractic
could very well have replaced the word chiropractic.
ATTACKS AGAINST THE ORTHOPRACTIC GUIDELINES
The chiropractors have made many comments about the orthopractic
guidelines. They have tape recorded all my speeches and have taken from
them whatever they liked. They refuse to deal with this issue at hand.
Exactly what do they object to in the orthopractic guidelines? Be specific?
Do they not agree that manual therapists should support immunization? Do
they agree that manual therapists should not try to treat ear infections?
I have seen the quotes that the chiropractors claim to have tape recorded
about my speech. I have no control over their selective editing. What they
claim does not represent in any manner what my speech was all about.
To be specific, I am not a member nor do I ever expect to be a member of
any orthopractic manual therapy association. I, along with several
prominent Canadian chiropractors, physicians, physiotherapists, medical
specialists and citizens were happy to contribute to the guidelines. My
input related to the pediatric section.
I have no authority whatsoever to speak on behalf of any orthopractic
manual therapy association, nor do I ever intend to. My involvement with
orthopractic manual therapy started in March of 1994 and ended just nine
months later. I am available for my opinion to any orthopractic group that
requests it. I fully support orthopractic scientific goals and I strive to
promote them in other fields such as physician prescribing habits,
religious ideas about health care, etc.
Like 99% of physicians in Canada, I support the orthopractic manual therapy
guidelines. So does Consumer Reports Magazine, the Chiefs of Pediatric
Hospitals, the Manitoba College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Canadian
Pediatric Society, the Pediatric Section of the Alberta Medical
Association, The Canadian Orthopractic Manual Therapy Association, the
Alberta Society of Radiologists and others.
Chiropractors have selectively taken quotes from a speech I made. They
claim that I did not care about standards for members of any orthopractic
association. I was asked to comment in my speech if I was personally
responsible for the orthopractic standards. I replied that it was never my
role to decide on standards for members who wish to adhere to the
My choice of words, that "I did not care" who joined orthopractic were
twisted. Those who do adhere to the guidelines have to be certified
chiropractors, physiotherapists or physicians. I did not care which of
those professions did join, as long as they were from a profession; it was
acceptable to me. The ability of any group to practice manual therapy is
the responsibility of their professional associations.
Chiropractic authorities have criticized me for claiming the problem is
"political". A part of the problem is of course political. Chiropractors
have gained some legitimacy through the political process and not the
educational one. Their claims about what spinal manipulation can treat are
political documents not scientific ones. Their response to criticism is to
have individual patients sign petitions, not to produce objective evidence.
There is a serious political problem in that some chiropractors are being
prevented from adhering to the orthopractic guidelines simply for political
reasons. Chiropractors have claimed that certain individuals quit
orthopractic. Did the chiropractors mention that they threatened to take
away the license of any chiropractor who wanted to adhere to the
guidelines? Did they mention that today the orthopractic guidelines have
much more support than ever before?
The proper response to the orthopractic guidelines is for the chiropractors
to clearly explain why they object to using manual therapy to treat only
musculo-skeletal conditions? Why have provincial chiropractic licensing
boards threatened to sue any chiropractor who wishes to be orthopractic in
the range of conditions they wish to treat? Why is this "dangerous" as
chiropractor Allan Halowski has claimed?
THE MEDICAL POST
The chiropractors have claimed that I wrote a false article in the Medical
Post magazine and that I was forced to withdraw it. In response to an
article I wrote, as a guest editorial page comment, the chiropractors
focused on one sentence in the article and threatened a lawsuit.
Only one sentence in the entire article was questioned. I thought it was
clear. They claimed that my wording implied that graduates of a
chiropractic school are not qualified to practice chiropractic. I think
this is a ridiculous assumption to make from what I wrote. I therefore
clearly stated that I did believe the graduates are qualified to practice
chiropractic and the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College teaches
chiropractic philosophy very well.
A CRUEL LIE NOW BEING TOLD BY ALBERTA CHIROPRACTORS
In reaction to the decision of the Alberta Society of Radiologists, Alberta
chiropractors are now distributing a newsletter to patients stating that
the Saskatchewan Inquest into the death of Laurie Jean Mathiason found "The
chiropractor was found to be not guilty".
This is a total fabrication. The Coroner clearly stated on every occasion
possible that the Inquest was not there to determine innocence or guilt.
That would be determined by a trial that was in fact announced with four
days of the completion of the Inquest. The recommendations of the Inquest
all pointed out the need to question the risk of cervical manipulation and
even questioned its benefit.
An official complaint has been made to the Coroner by the legal council for
the Mathiason family.
I would recommend that anyone being pressured to provide chiropractic
philosophy with any degree of respect should look into the following
claims. They should ask for proof and sworn statements.
1) The claim that RAND endorsed chiropractic.
2) The claim that the New Zealand Commission endorsed chiropractic.
3) The claim that the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College has "interns"
working as part of a multi-discipline team at various Hospitals.
4) The claim that the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College is affiliated
with several Universities.
5) The claim that chiropractic radiology teaching was connected to the
University of Saskatchewan and to Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto.
6) The claim that the risk of a cerebral vascular accident following
cervical manipulation is less than one in several million.
7) The claim that there are no other deaths in Canada related in any way to
8) The entire claim that spinal manipulation is necessary as prevention for
future illness and that such manipulation should starts as soon after birth
9) The claim that x-rays can show that chiropractic subluxations do exist
10) The claim that removal of subluxations is superior to immunization
in preventing diseases such as measles, polio, meningitis, etc. etc.
11) The claim that chiropractic education is equivalent to that of a
12) The claim that chiropractors are capable of making a proper
differential diagnosis and therefore seeing a patient on a primary care
13) The claim that chiropractors are better at manual therapy than are
physiotherapists who adhere to the orthopractic guidelines
What will the chiropractic response to this letter be? More words? More
letters? More twisting? Legal threats?
Chiropractors claim to be nervous system specialists. Why not try for once
some clear proof that learning disorders start in the spine and not the
brain? How do vertebrae pinch only autonomic nerves and not spinal nerves?
How do the cranial nerves end up in the spinal column? How many vertebrae
do we have inside our skull? Show them to us on x-rays.
I do not know what other dirty tricks are being played. I would ask anyone
who has heard any comments from chiropractors about my character to inform me of these accusations. This is only fair.
Send Dr. Katz e-mail