A Tipping Point Stands Before Us
The response to Steven Salzberg’s article at Forbes, New Medicare Data Reveal Startling $496 Million Wasted On Chiropractors, has caused a firestorm to say the least with over 139 responses on his blog in just two days, many from DCs as well as the general public.
You can Post Your Comment or read all of them to get the jest of the anger on this blog. I’ve included just a few at the end of this commentary for your entertainment. I urge you to post your own comment but, please, if you’re an Allen Botnick or Sam Homola sort of chiro turncoat who mistakenly thinks chiropractors brought this scourge upon ourselves, don’t bother.
It turns my stomach when naïve people in the general public or in our own profession who don’t understand the medical war on chiropractors spew nonsense or are in denial about the roles played by evil people like Morris Fishbein and H. Doyl Taylor.
Instead, for their 15 minutes of fame in the medical limelight as chiro bashers, they have the gall to say our medical detractors are right or, just as ludicrous, they tell me we should ‘make love, not war’ with a medical profession that still tries to contain and eliminate our profession with its ‘wither on the vine’ tactics.
These turncoats just need to get out of the way in this battle for medical freedom and equality.
If these blog responses below are any indication, this could be indicative of a tipping point in the public’s conscious about our profession. But, as a profession that has suffered from unfair journalism for too long, if not forever, it’s time our leadership stands up and says something. Not only should the ACA, ICA, WFC or F4CP call out Salzberg, someone needs to call out Forbes by citing the Fairness Doctrine to give us equal access for rebuttal.
Famed attorney George McAndrews sent to me his response to the editor of Forbes, Malanie Wells, and to Steven Salzberg, written only as he can do. He also attached his article, When the TMA Looks for Quacks, It Should Search Its Own House that was published in Dynamic Chiropractic on April 1, 2014.
I write in response to the uninformed article by Steven Salzberg in the April 20 issue of Forbes Magazine. It is clear that Mr. Salzberg is lacking knowledge about which he speaks. I note that he has never read the 2012 article in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery about the Johns Hopkins University Medical School where he claims to have taught and done research. It is obvious that he knows not what he writes.
As noted in the attached letter I was the lead Plaintiffs’ trial lawyer in the celebrated 14 year anti-trust case entitled: Wilk at al vs AMA et al, where the chiropractors succeeded in having the AMA declared guilty of a lengthy, nation-wide attempt to totally eliminate the profession of chiropractic licensed in all fifty states. The injunction against the AMA is still fresh. I was also lead Plaintiff’s trial lawyer in the Civil Racketeering case entitled: Chinnici vs Central DuPage Hospital, the Mona Kea Professional Center and 21 Medical Physicians. This latter case survived a Motion To Dismiss by the Defendants and was ultimately settled.
For his enlightenment and to correct the record for readers of the venerable Forbes Magazine that may be tempted to swallow the Kool Aid proposed by Mr. Salzberg, I am enclosing my letter, widely published on April 1, 2014, containing what lawyers call “Admissions Against Interest” by the medical community, its schools, its researchers, governmental bodies and others attesting to the sad lack of knowledge of the medical community about the neuro musculoskeletal system of the human body (60% of the total) where doctors of chiropractic admittedly have superior education, knowledge, practice and results with patients.
The true victims of Mr. Salzberg’s uninformed vendetta are the millions of patients being treated by uninformed medical doctors that would both benefit from the education, knowledge and superior care of Doctors of Chiropractic if the medical doctors would first refer the patient to a doctor of chiropractic for evaluation before embarking on a drug-surgery freefall. Please carefully read the quotations and sources in my letter.
Chiropractic has survived and grown due to its success in caring for 30-40 million patients where results, not propaganda, are the best form of patient education. Many MDs now get regular chiropractic care and refer patients to them and accept referrals from them,
I trust Mr. Salzberg is not teaching his students that the Earth is square.
I also suggest that Mr. Salzberg should begin his re-education by reading: SYMPATHETIC SEGMENTAL DISTURBANCES—II, by Henry Winsor, M.D., found in the MEDICAL TIMES, Volume XLIX., No 11, November 1921, pp 267-271. It should at least pique his curiosity.
Additional studies and sources are available upon request.
GEORGE P. McANDREWS
I admire George’s tactic using “Admissions Against Interest” as well as his sarcasm, “I trust Mr. Salzberg is not teaching his students that the Earth is square.” I would love to see Salzberg’s face as he reads this letter and George’s article in Dynamic Chiropractic, although I doubt anyone can change a medical bigot’s mind (and god only knows that I’ve tried many times in Letters to Editors). No doubt Salzberg understands he has met his match, just as the AMA discovered at the Wilk v. AMA trial, but he will never admit it or apologize.
This is certainly a step in the right direction, but until we crack the nut of public relations to change the medically-contrived public image that belabors the stigma we have endured for nearly a century, his letter and article will remain under wraps at Forbes that has no interest in further embarrassment about Salzberg’s obvious medical bigotry.
This is the angle the ACA, ICA, WFC, and F4CP must take by reaching out to other mainstream media organizations by using Salzberg’s current and three former articles as evidence of the prevailing medical misinformation, slander, and unfair journalism that plagues the chiropractic profession.
Whether it is obvious defamation such as Salzberg’s rant, or “professional amnesia” by Sanjay Gupta on CNN who ignores our profession in instances such as Deadly Dose when he should have heralded our non-drug solution to the Hillbilly Heroin epidemic, or the outrageous comments by Harriett Hall on NPR about “quackademia,” the fact remains we are missing in the media.
We chiropractors seemingly face in the media a phenomenon called “citation laundering” of erroneous facts that are passed on from one newscaster to other newscasters as “perceived wisdom”. The issue of medical “citation laundering” of errors made against chiropractors is unknown to the public, but it forms the public conception of our image. Since the 1960s, the AMA’s Committee on Quackery promoted its slur that “everybody knows chiropractic is an unscientific cult,” and unethical newsmen like Salzberg and Gupta continue to launder this misinformation.
Dana Weary, DC, opined to me how Salzberg is perceived by the misguided public that concludes: “There you have it, I knew blacks were stupid, Mexicans were lazy, liberals all do drugs, and chiropractic is quackery, and he’s a scientist! Game Over.”
We must clear the air now of this dirty laundry and take our rebuttal immediately to the mainstream media to demand equal time to respond. Imagine if Salzberg had made a homophobic comment how quickly the LBGT orgs would speak out. Imagine if he had made an anti-Semitic slur how quickly the Jewish Anti-Defamation League would respond. Imagine if he had used the n-word to describe the NAACP. What if he had chided females who want equal salaries for equal jobs as a bunch of ‘greedy bitches’? Even my comment undoubtedly raised some eyebrows, eh?
You get my point: we have been slighted by an obvious medical bigot who has used a leading business magazine on four occasions with impunity to bash our profession. How many times will it take before our leadership does something other than write a formal but unoffensive letter to the editor or place an ad in The Wall Street Journal?
On the other hand, what if our leadership showed some backbone (or cajones) and publicly called out Forbes and Salzberg, it would show other mainstream media, the public, and members of our own profession (who have heretofore not supported the ACA, ICA, WFC, or F4CP due to their lack of effective PR) that the downtrodden chiropractors are FED UP with being PUSHED AROUND BY MEDICAL BIGOTS IN THE MEDIA.
Maybe then it would not only give us an opportunity to refute Salzberg’s stupidity, it would also give us a chance to present our evidence-based methodfs, show our clinical and cost-effectiveness, give us the opportunity to discuss the paradigm shift in spine care guidelines, and to show the world how we can help in this medical healthcare crisis to lower costs and improve outcomes.
All we need is a foot in the door to tell our story. Let’s use this Forbes fiasco as an opportunity to do just that, but it will take a strong leadership to state our case and demand equal time.
Here are just a few of the blog comments:
- ” Hey thanks for knocking a few Yahoo articles down from the top tier of my “blatantly idiotic” list. Do us all a favor and go play. In a busy… “
- ” This is the a very biased piece of ‘journalism’. I will discontinue reading Forbes in the future. Great disservice to the thousands of people who… “
- ” 496 Million? Is that all? Big freakin deal…why don’t you write an article on how over paid, over valued, arrogant MD’s become multi millionaire’s…
- ” Prejudice: unreasonable feelings, opinions or attitudes, especially of a hostile nature towards a particular group. It would appear that this author…
- ” Wow, this author is a “doctor” lol. Anybody with half a brain can look at the $77,000,000,000 Medicare WASTE and figure out that percent… “
- ” Picking research to support your idea while choosing to ignore research that does not support it is not being “Evidence-Based”, it’s being ignorant… “
- ” From what the author says in his bio, he prides himself on being very well educated which in turn makes him very bias and arrogant. His article is… “
- ” Do you realize how ridiculous what you just said here is? You are “citing” a book and a blog article. I don’t care how recent they are, they are… “
- ” There is a lot to process in this article. This article comes off as a rather unprofessional approach to an established branch of primary care…. “
- ” Does the author even know what chiropractic really is? A lot of people don’t. “
- ” I must say, that you must realize that all of your false reporting will discourage many sick people from embarking on a care plan with chiropractic,… “
- ” What a shocking an mis-informed article! Chiropractic is natural, safe and effective and very economical compared to allopathic medicine which is… “
- ” Ahh yes, and every critique of medical intervention that is frowned upon by an MD must be taken as truth! Really Steven, you surprise me! I… “
- ” Ok 26 minutes in I have now done more research than the author without question. A Google search of the author reveals, on his John’s Hopkins page,… “
- ” Type chiropractic into the search box at the top of the page while on the Forbes website. The “author” has 4 other articles all critical of… ““
Here are his four anti-chiropractic articles:
Newly released Medicare data reveal that the U.S. wastes almost half a billion dollars per year on chiropractic adjustments. Chiropractic is based on pseudoscience, and its foundational principle of “subluxations” is a myth. Here’s an easy way to save $500 million without hurting health care. read »
Steven Salzberg, Contributor Apr 20, 2014
Low-interest loans from the U.S. government support students at all kinds of colleges, including colleges that teach pseudoscience and quack medicine. read »
Steven Salzberg, Contributor Jun 10, 2012
A very poorly done study on chiropractic is circulating the web, where chiropractors are citing it to prove that their treatments can repair DNA. The study got some basic statistics wrong. read »
Steven Salzberg, Contributor Nov 13, 2011
Quack medical providers have hired lobbyists to protect a clause in the Obamacare legislation that gives them a new way to cash in, without having to prove that their treatments work. They only have to fool their patients. read »
Steven Salzberg, Contributor Aug 26, 2013
Here is a response by Steven Salzberg, Contributor, 1 day ago:
A general response to multiple commenters saying I’m re-hashing “old” critiques from the 1960s, or even older than that: note that two of the harshest critiques I cited were written by chiropractors themselves, one from a book published in 2013, and another from a blog article published less than a month ago. These are not “old” critiques.
Multiple commenters also wrote variations on “I believe in chiropractic” or “I know it works, it worked for my friend/my daughter/myself/etc.” This is exactly the kind of anecdote used in favor of other treatments that don’t work, and it isn’t proof of anything. Much chiropractic care treats pain, often recurring back pain, which is very common. Such pain waxes and wanes, and doing nothing is often just as effective as doing something (like visiting a chiropractor). The intermittent nature of such pain leads people, understandably, to credit their chiropractor when their pain improves.
Several other commenters pointed out that modern medicine also has flaws. Of course it does, and I have written columns criticizing those flaws on multiple occasions (e.g., see my takedowns of Vioxx). However, two wrongs don’t make a right, so this argument has nothing to do with chiropractic.
Again, I urge you to post your own comment as well as contact the ACA, ICA, WFC and F4CP to demand action in response.
If you do, please let me know.