Pushing Pot


Pushing Pot

 Just the other night I overheard on TV the chief medical reporter at CNN, Sanjay Gupta, MD, when he made a confession:

“Recently, I have apologized for some of the earlier reporting because I think, you know, we’ve been terribly and systematically misled in this country for some time.
And I did part of that misleading.”[1]

At first blush I thought he was apologizing to chiropractors for his history of misleading viewers about our healing art, but it was wishful thinking on my part.

Without question, Dr. Gupta has misled Americans about chiropractic care as evident with his allegation that manipulative therapy causes hundreds of strokes. According to his June 25, 2008 video on CNN.com, Stroke after chiropractic care, Dr. Sanjay Gupta reported “Hundreds of people have had strokes after having their necks manipulated.”

His claim is pure bunk and the facts about chiropractors hurting patients are pale in comparison to medical mistakes. His goal was not factual but the typical scare tactic one might expect from a neurosurgeon defaming his chiropractic rivals, an issue I refer to as medical voodoo.

But the truth belies his voodoo. According to research by Alan Terret et al., the rate of iatrogenic problems associated with spinal manipulative therapy as rendered by doctors of chiropractic is only 1 in 5.85 million cases, which is less than the chance of stroke in a hair salon, in a dentist’s chair, or being hit by lightning (one in 600,000). It equated to one occurrence in 48 chiropractic careers.[2]

After my written complaint to CNN about his gross exaggeration of the truth, Gupta’s malicious video was taken down from the CNN.com website. However, CNN did not give me equal time as I requested to respond to his false allegations nor did he make any public apology. Hit-and-run journalism typifies his style by taking a cheap shot at chiropractors without any reply.

Viewers also witnessed his bias against chiropractic in DR. Gupta’s program Deadly Dose, an exposé about deaths from opioid painkillers dubbed the Hillbilly Heroin epidemic.

While watching this program, a viewer would presumably think that Dr. Gupta was seeking a non-drug solution to back pain in lieu of deadly narcotics, but his professional amnesia kicked in and he completely forgot to mention chiropractic care in his hour-long program.

 As I listened to Dr. Gupta’s recent confession, I finally realized he was speaking about weed. Yes, you heard that right—the almighty Dr. Gupta, brain surgeon, admitted to Piers Morgan on CNN that he was wrong in the past to criticize smoking pot. Apparently he liked getting high and wanted to pass his joint. Then he promoted his upcoming program, “Why I changed my mind on weed.”

Sanjay Gupta’s conversion about pot allegedly came after joining a Jamaican Rastafarian church that anointed Dr. Gupta with a new moniker, “Dr. Ganja” of the Cannabis News Network who confessed, “Marijuana not only works better than these narcotics, it’s safer!”

Despite his unexpected conversion to weed, another apology is certainly due. If Dr. Gupta can apologize for misleading viewers about smoking pot, he can apologize for his bias, misrepresentation, and omission of chiropractic care in his programs.

Imagine the immediate breakthrough an apology would create if he had the backbone to say:

“I would like to apologize for some of the earlier reporting about chiropractors because I have been terribly wrong and I misled this country for some time.”

Apparently smoking pot is less controversial for Dr. Ganja to admit than endorsing chiropractors. While he may get chided for his new dreadlocks and stance on weed, Dr. Ganja would be skewered by his spine surgeon colleagues if he were to apologize for his bias against chiropractors with a headline story—“Chiropractors were right all along.”

Pushing for a Medical Apology

An apology from CNN’s chief medical rival for his outright prejudice, lies, and defamation against chiropractors would crack the ice of medical prejudice virtually overnight.

This is a human interest story waiting to be told that would have fair-minded people up in arms that their MDs have lied to suppress our important services to help this disabling condition. It would also vindicate the 12,000+ DCs who were arrested for practicing this healing art during the AMA’s witch hunt in the early 20th century.

Such contrition for medical bigotry is not unprecedented as we saw in 2008 with the newspaper headline “AMA Apologizes to Black MDs.” This apology came by design, not out of charity, when Barack Obama was about to be elected president of the USA.

On a similar note, in 2012 Emory University apologized for years of anti-Semitism at its dental school, “Emory Apologizes to Jewish Dental Students,” when dozens of Jewish students were flunked out or forced to repeat courses.[3]

The AMA officially apologized for its history of excluding black physicians from membership, for listing black doctors as “colored” in its national physician directory for decades, and for failing to speak against federal funding of segregated hospitals and in favor of civil rights legislation.

“The AMA failed, across the span of a century, to live up to the high standards that define the noble profession of medicine,” said AMA past President Ron Davis, MD, in a commentary published in the July 16, 2008 Journal of the American Medical Association[4]

Even in midst of an apology for decades of racism and segregation within its own ranks, Dr. Davis still used the opportunity to mention the “high standards that define the noble profession of medicine,” an obvious embellishment of typical low-brow ethics in political medicine.

While black MDs were forced to sit in the back of the AMA’s bus for years, unmentioned by Dr. Davis over that “span of a century” was the fact chiropractors were thrown under the same bus by his “noble profession.”

Not unexpectedly this medical apology did not extend to all healthcare providers, such as chiropractors, dentists, optometrists, RNs, DOs, NDs, NPs, acupuncturists, and other allied health professionals who all have fought their battles in the medical war against the AMA.

A public confession would do wonders to reposition the public overnight. If there was just one ethical AMA leader willing to confess the illegal and immoral tactics to destroy the chiropractic profession, it would be the best medicine ever for our profession and millions of suffering patients.

Considering back pain is the #1 disabling condition in the nation and world, a case can easily be made the medical war against chiropractors has led to this pandemic of pain with its boycott of the best practice in spine care.

To add more salt to the medical embarrassment, new studies have now exposed the overall ineffectiveness of medical spine care that has been called the “poster child of inefficient spine care” by Mark Schoene, a leading spine journal editor. [5]  

So, can we expect an apology from the “noble profession of medicine” to chiropractors? Okay, stop laughing; it may take another generation of MDs who understand that fairness and equality applies to health professionals, too.



[1] Piers Morgan August 7, 2013 Host Piers Morgan and guest Dr. Sanjay Gupta discuss marijuana

[2] AJ Terret, “Current Concepts in Vertebrobasilar Complications Following Spinal Manipulation,” NCMIC Group Inc, West Des Moines, Iowa, (2001)

[3] Kate Brumback, Emory apologizes for anti-Semitism, Associated Press, 10/11/2012

[4] Kevin B. O’Reilly, AMA apologizes for past inequality against black doctors, amednews.com July 28, 2008.

[5] The BACKPage editorial vol. 27, No. 11, November 2012.