The safety of chiropractic neck manipulation was put under a microscope this past week at the inquest into the death of Laurie Jean Mathiason following a visit to a Saskatoon chiropractor last February. The jury's recommendations, outlined below, clearly bear this out.
Jury recommendations arising out of the Coroner's inquest into the death of Laurie Jean Mathiason:
The witnesses called by the CCPA and the CAS showed how far the chiropractic profession has come in developing a pool of expertise on par with the expert witnesses from the medical profession. Dr. Adrian Grice was a strong spokesperson for chiropractic education and acquitted himself like a pro in the media scrum on the courthouse steps. Dr. David Cassidy's distinguished academic background and extensive scientific research publications made him a compelling witness, The fact that Dr. Cassidy is a visiting professor at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, where the Nobel prize for medicine is awarded, got the jury's attention. Dr. Paul Pelloso, MD called by the CAS, a practicing rheumatologist and researcher, provided additional assurance to the jury in the form of a medical doctor who works daily with chiropractors, is familiar with cervical adjustments and assured them that they are indeed safer than NSAIDS.
In each instance, in the final analysis, good science carried the day for chiropractic.
Another major achievement of this inquest was that Dr. Murray Katz, MD, self-appointed anti-chiropractic "expert" was discredited. The objections filed by the lawyer daily retained by the CCPA as well as Dr. Peterson's letter pointing out Dr. Katz's bias were instrumental in alerting the Coroner to where Dr. Katz was coming from. Dr. Katz wanted to read into testimony a 43 page diatribe against the chiropractic profession as his "testimony" - the Coroner stopped him in his tracks by saying "Dr. Katz, how can this be your testimony when you haven't been asked any questions." In the final analysis Dr Katz was the only expert witness not asked a question by the jury.
Chiropractic has come a long way and the focus of the jury's recommendations on the provision of government support for research is a clear indication by the public of the recognition that chiropractic has achieved in providing for the health care needs of Canadians.