Chiro Requests Apology



ACA Requests Apology from AMA


Submitted by

JC Smith, MA, DC

Warner Robins, GA


WHEREAS, the AMA’s House of Delegates recently announced a formal apology for its historical racism toward African American medical doctors (“AMA apologizes to black doctors for past racism,” by Lindsey Tanner, AP Medical Writer Thu July 10),


WHEREAS, black MDs were forced to sit in the back of the medical bus for too long, chiropractors were thrown under the same bus,


WHEREAS, chiropractors were jailed over 15,000 times in the first half of the last century for allegedly practicing medicine without a license when, in fact, the real crime was practicing health care without drugs and surgery,


WHEREAS, the AMA Committee on Quackery established by its Board of Trustees for the sole purpose “to study the chiropractic problem” and whose prime mission was “to be, first, the containment of Chiropractic and, ultimately, the elimination of Chiropractic,”


WHEREAS, the AMA referred to chiropractors as “killers and rabid dogs,” and conspired with the ARA, AHA, et al. to eventually “see them wither on the vine,”


WHEREAS, even ethical MDs who referred to DCs were threatened with the loss of licensure and ostracized from the medical fraternity for consulting with “cultists and quacks,”


WHEREAS, in October 1976, led by attorney George McAndrews, plaintiffs Chester A. Wilk, James W. Bryden, Patricia A. Arthur, and Michael D. Pedigo, all licensed chiropractors, filed an antitrust suit against the AMA in the Northern District Court of Illinois,


WHEREAS, after 11 years of legal wrangling, on September 25, 1987, Judge Getzendanner issued her opinion that the AMA had violated Section 1 of the Sherman Act. (Wilk v. American Medical Assn, 671 F. Supp. 1465, N.D. Ill. 1987), 


WHEREAS, Judge Getzendanner ruled that the AMA and its officials were guilty, as charged, of attempting to eliminate the chiropractic profession with a “lengthy, systematic, successful and unlawful boycott” designed to restrict cooperation between MDs and chiropractors in order to eliminate the profession of chiropractic as a competitor in the United States health care system,


WHEREAS, the AMA committee was also aware, the court found, that some medical physicians believed chiropractic could be effective, graduates from many medical schools failed to demonstrate basic competency on a validated examination of fundamental concepts of musculoskeletal care, and the court found that chiropractors were better trained to deal with musculoskeletal problems than most medical physicians,

WHEREAS, the Court also ordered a permanent injunction order against the AMA

due to “lingering effects of the illegal boycott and conspiracy”… “injury to chiropractors’ reputations,” and “economic injury as a result of the boycott,”


WHEREAS, many of these lingering effects of the illegal boycott remain evident today, the ACA urges the AMA finally to be truthful with the public about the value of chiropractic care and to extend its contrition to those who share the same goal to help sick people get well,


WHEREAS, no one health care profession holds the key to every aspect of health care in this epidemic of back pain with escalating surgical costs and disability,  and with the emerging evidence-based research and international guidelines now showing the efficacy of manual manipulation for both acute and chronic low back pain,


WHEREAS, multidisciplinary groups of MDs now work alongside DCs, such as the Texas Back Institute, the Rehab Institute of Chicago, the Rhode Island Spine Center at Brown University, to name but a few in the private sector and, in the military health services, the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Centers now has 30 clinics with MDs and DCs working cooperatively, as well as the  DoD that has multidisciplinary services in more than 50 clinics throughout the US including the Bethesda Naval Hospital,


RESOLVED, if the AMA can now apologize for its discrimination toward black MDs, the ACA requests a public apology from the AMA for its past transgressions, public denigration, and illegal boycott to facilitate cooperation with the chiropractic profession with the hope that these two professions can increasingly work together to give patients the best of both worlds to solve this epidemic of back pain.