Antony C.H. Hammer M.D.
3019 Tecumseh Road East
Windsor, Ontario N8W 1G8
(519) 945-4503, Fax: 945-4462

December 15, 2001

Ms. Kristina Mulak
Investigations & Resolutions Officer
College of Chiropractors of Ontario
130 Bloor Street West, Suite 902
Toronto, Ontario

Re: Jeffrey NEEDHAM D.C.

Dear Ms. Mulak,

I am lodging a complaint against the above chiropractor who practices at 490 Murphy Road, Sarnia, Ontario.

The grounds for my complaint are that Dr. Needham is in contravention of the

  • Chiropractic Act, 1991, S.O. 1998, c.21 (The Act).


    1. Dr. Needham's web site and various other writings on the internet [1,2,3,4,5,6,7 & 8] (all readily available to his clients) make the misleading statements about vaccination, including the following: [1 & 8]:

    - "Vaccines are Dangerous"

    - "Manufacturers admit vaccines are highly toxic and cannot be made safe"

    - "The vaccine formula is no doubt toxic, unstable and unreliable"

    - "Marvel that there is no science to support vaccines"

    - "Marvel that drugs and vaccines don't prevent or eliminate"

    This is in violation of the CCO's Policy P-033 "Information on Immunization" [9]. He has failed to inform himself on the subject of immunization, to inform his clients that immunization is outside the scope of chiropractic or to present a balanced evidence-based portrayal of immunization. In particular Dr. Needham neglects his obligation to describe the benefits of immunization and the consequences of failure to immunize.

    Dr. Needham also appears to attempt to immunize himself against the accusation that he is discouraging immunization by stating that "At Needham Family Chiropractic we are not promoting the anti-vaccination of the community's children. We don't have a stance on the issue of vaccines other than to point out the [potential dangers that exist with their use"[1]. It is difficult to believe that he writes this in good faith.

    2. Dr. Needham communicates diagnoses and advocates unproven treatments for conditions that do not "arise from the structures or functions of the joints and their effects on the nervous system". Specifically, ear infections, digestive problems, asthma, colds and colic [2].

    Dr. Needham goes to great lengths to describe the theory [2] that "subluxations" affect the nervous system "that controls and coordinates all the functions of the body". Undaunted by the complete absence of any credible scientific evidence for the existence of subluxations and ignoring the substantial and growing body of credible scientific evidence that subluxations do not actually exist at all [10 & 11], he uses this as an justification to diagnose and treat medical conditions that do not arise from the structure of function of the spine or joints. He, and the "straight" chiropractors claim that to be able to detect subluxations as the causal agents of numerous diseases. This is a gross deception of the general public and a threat to their safety. Dr. Needham's and the subluxation-based chiropractor's believe in this theory with a fervor approaching that of a religious creed and the very weak "peer reviewed research" they rely on to support it is totally overwhelmed by the scientific implausibility of the theory, anatomically, biochemically, physiologically and clinically.

    I submit that subluxation-based chiropractic practice is at worst quackery, at best an "experimental technique" that should be subject to the CCO's Internal Policy I-008 of the Complaints Committee and approved by Council in January 1998. This because it is not "...a technique, technology, device or procedure accepted by a responsible and substantial segment of the chiropractic community or which has otherwise gained widespread academic, scientific or chiropractic acceptance; and (has) been the subject of independent research (etc)".

    3. Dr. Needham is in breach of the advertising Standard S-003 because he promotes his practice using false and misleading information containing statements that cannot be verified. His anti-vaccination propaganda is an example of this, as are many others such as declaring that "eating junk food" is cause of subluxation [2].

    4. Dr Needham fails to comply with the Code of Ethics of the C.C.O. (C-001) by failing to practice within the limits of his professional and personal competence and failing to collaborate with other health care professionals (Section 1, paras 1 & 4). He directly and indirectly portrays physicians and some of his fellow chiropractors as uncaring, ignorant, avaricious and under the control of drug companies.

    Moreover, he maligns his fellow health care professionals by asserting the following:

    - "80% of medical practices today have never been tested" [8]

    - "Marvel at the 8% chance of being injured or killed by a doctor or hospital staff member" [8]

    - "I educate and empower people with regards to health, wellness and chiropractic so they learn what we do is really healthcare and that any other approach or model is really crisis care" [7]

    These statements are grossly inaccurate and defamatory. I attach a more sober appraisal of the first allegation [12], the extent to which medicine is based on scientific evidence.

    I believe that the CCO should be concerned that Dr. Needham appears to have created his own "science", to have adopted a set of mystical beliefs and to be pursuing a messianic mission. He has created a cult-like environment, seeking an unquestioning commitment from his clients, in defiance of what he sees as a hostile, ignorant and uncaring conventional "health care "establishment" from which he acknowledge his own alienation. In fact Dr. Needham appears to question the authority of the CCO, or anyone else, to practice within the Regulated Health Professions Act, the Chiropractic Act or any other legislation.

    I quote him:

    "So, being new, I set out to making my vision a reality" [7]

    "Lives are at stake........... Please tell the truth to everyone, you can save a life"[8]

    "Keep on Saving Lives"[8]

    If there is a scintilla of credible scientific evidence that the practice of subluxation-based chiropracty has ever been responsible for saving a life, I am unable to discover it.

    Dr. Needham's web site is not the only means by which he claims to have "gone to the masses". He mentions "corporate walks, health fairs, mall screens and backpack programmes" [7] and I assume that he also takes advantage of these opportunities to breach the Regulated Health Professions Act, the Chiropractic Act and policies of the CCO as describe above.

    My principal concern is that the particular kind of chiropractic "science" and philosophy Dr. Needham promotes is carefully designed to deceive the public while exerting a strong psychological appeal. He portrays himself as a courageous pioneer and promises cures (usually obliquely), protection from serious illness and a kind of super-health. He makes the details sound plausible (at least to the untrained) encouraging his audience to be independent of the medical establishment and to think for themselves. These are all things that a reasonable person might aspire to. Unfortunately, the result can be harmful. Dr. Needham glosses over possible adverse effects of his treatment, potentially delaying appropriate evaluation and treatment, and diverting medical and economic resources towards worthless and unproven procedures. This is not compatible with the intent of the Regulated Health Professions Act.

    I should be most grateful if the Complaints Committee, in order to protect the public's safety and interest, would consider the above in a timely manner.

    Yours truly,

    Antony C.H. Hammer M.D.


    1 - 7. Pages from Dr. Needham's web site printed on December 14th, 2001. (Taken down on December 14, 2001. The pages were printed and archived and are available upon request to the public for verification)

    8. Dr. Needham's communications with Planet Chiropractic of December 6th, 2000 and October 20th 2001

    9. CCO's "Information on Immunization", policy P-033, Nov 1996 and amended April 2000.

    10. "Why Chiropractic is Controversial (1990)", William T. Jarvis, Ph.D.,Chirobase Home page.

    11. "Chiropractic's Elusive "Subluxation", Stephen Barrett M.D., Chirobase Home Page.

    12. "The Evidence for Evidence Based-Medicine", R. Imrie, D.W. Ramsey. Complimentary Therapies in Medicine (2000), 8, 123-126, Harcourt Printers Ltd. Also in the Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine, Winter 2000 - 2001 edition.

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