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 edition of the Calgary Herald.

Safe Practices

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

Danielle Smith's column presents information in a misleading manner. Three million Canadians each year seek chiropractic care and benefit from one of the most effective and conservative treatments for neck and back conditions. The five cases Smith notes span the entire country, over more than eight years. In only two of these cases was a formal inquiry deemed necessary. In both instances, the juries found no direct causation to chiropractic.

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

Chiropractic works within a framework of standards of care. As fully trained health professionals, chiropractors provide significant benefits and well-being to their patients.

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

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

Moratorium now

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

My family deeply appreciated Danielle Smith's demand for Health Minister Gary Mar to call a moratorium on all chiropractic high neck manipulation. Mar should not hide behind the myth that this is a matter for the College of Chiropractors to regulate. Just as the safety of medications lies outside the regulation of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, so is the lack of safety of neck manipulation beyond the regulatory body of chiropractic.

That Les Shaw of the College of Chiropractors in Alberta would say that in two formal inquiries "the juries found no direct causation to chiropractic" shows the body has long since abdicated any meaningful role. In fact, in both of these inquiries the juries came back with a series of recommendations for chiropractic treatment, all in an effort to prevent another death under similar circumstances.

A normal regulatory body would be scientific, but with almost all chiropractors and their regulators promoting neck manipulations for everyone from newborn babies to senior citizens, with many on anti-coagulants, suffering high blood pressure, atherosclerosis and osteoporosis, there is no safety. Chiropractors are manipulating the high neck for every affliction and disease and it's time Mar realized something 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. No one will die or suffer in any way if chiropractic high neck manipulation is stopped.


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, MD Dollard des Ormeaux, Que.