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Laurie Jean & Lana Dale Memorial Moratorium
April 30, 2004 - Across Canada press conferences were held by the families and their supporters to demand an immediate stop for all chiropractic high neck manipulations. The chiropractic regulators across Canada have failed to voluntarily halt this useless and dangerous procedure. There have been two inquests that found that the chiropractors were at fault. There have been numerous lawsuits over the years, and yet the procedures continue with the blessings of chiropractic associations and regulators. Governments that cover chiropractic still pay for this procedure. The families are supported by pediatricians, neurologists, and other experts who have seen the chiropractic regulators dance around any thought of meaningful self-regulation.
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    On March 22, 1999, I found references to Murray on a chiropractic web site that I found while surfing. It related to the the New Zealand Commission of Inquiry. This web site contained comments derogatory to the reputation of Joseph Botta of Consumer Repots magazine, Dr. Stephen Barrett of Quackwatch in Pennsylvani,a and Dr. Murray Katz of Montreal.

    When I distributed the URL of the New Zealand site, I wanted you all to see that the lies are still floating around nearly 20 years after the fact. I was not aware that chiropractors were still in the business of playing "dirty tricks" in New Zealand. Murray and I have spoken about the situation and he has decided that we should make it known that there are still chiropractors who have no other way to fight, than to spread false allegations.

    Following legal action taken by Dr. Katz, the chiropractic attacks and false accusations were apparently controlled, and a settlement was reached. A summary, by Murray is below for all of you to comment.



    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 apparent.

    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 "scrabble".

    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.


    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 these issues.

    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.


    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 orthopractic guidelines.

    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 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. PAGE SEVEN


    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 cervical manipulation.

    8) The entire claim that spinal manipulation is necessary as prevention for future illness and that such manipulation should starts as soon after birth as possible.

    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 medical student?

    12) The claim that chiropractors are capable of making a proper differential diagnosis and therefore seeing a patient on a primary care basis?

    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.

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