A friend of mine, a resident of my town of Cheshire, Connecticut, handed me a piece of paper this past Saturday. It reads as follows:
To the Citizens of Cheshire and the surrounding communities
The Doctors of Chiropractic of Cheshire would like to make you aware that the false, misleading, and inflammatory advertisements recently run in ‘The Cheshire Herald’ do a great disservice to our community because they are so far from the truth.
The chiropractic profession has proven and established itself since its origination to be the safest of all ‘doctor level’ health professions, a record demonstrated by everything from outcome studies to malpractice record and fees.
It is very sad that any group or individual, whatever their motives, would resort to such an ugly campaign, instilling fear without facts, and that is why it is so important to present the facts about chiropractic.
Over one million people a day seek the safe and effective care of doctors of chiropractic in the United States alone, with none of the complications that so plague the medical and pharmaceutical approach to health.
Compared to the safety record of medicine, which is so much in the news every day, chiropractic deserves to be promoted and commended. Unfortunately, chiropractic was recently attacked with false and deceptive information, by individuals being funded and directed by organizations with personal, political, and economic motives.
To put things in perspective;
Overall death rate for spinal surgery — 7 deaths per 10,000
Use of Contraceptive pills — 1 death per 5,000
Skiing — 1 death per 430,000
Playing Soccer or Football — 1 death per 25,500
Risk of death from NSAIDS (anti-inflammatory medications) —
400 deaths per 1 million
The risk of death or major neurological complications from a cervical adjustment is only 1 in 4 million, yet Prescription Drugs cause more than 100,000 deaths per year.
Although all available evidence demonstrates that stroke is an extremely small risk, this is a subject the chiropractic profession takes very seriously. In our eight-plus years of graduate and post-graduate chiropractic training, continuing education courses and specialties; chiropractors are taught to recognize any posing risk factors in patients, and how to treat our patients in the most effective and most responsible manner.
As Cheshire’s Chiropractors, we would like to reassure the community that chiropractic care is safe, effective and appropriate for patients of all ages. For more information, please feel free to contact one of us.
Dr. Thomas Clukey
Dr. Luigi DiRubba
Dr. Nicole Galiette
Dr. James Grenon
Dr. Daniel Ruddy
Dr. Bradley Stults
This is a very similar letter to the editor of The Cheshire Herald, published on October 16, 2008. There are some words and punctuations that differ, but it is, for all intents and purposes, the same letter.
Their reference to the “false, misleading, and inflammatory advertisements recently run in The Cheshire Herald” and “individuals funded and directed by organizations with personal, political, and economic motives” refers to The Chiropractic Stroke Awareness Group (CSAG).
CSAG is a Connecticut founded organization, and they are raising the public awareness about the risk of stroke and death with chiropractic cervical spinal adjustments. Their efforts are of a national scale, with their billboards and bus-side advertisements appearing in some of America’s largest cities. Their website links to the research and articles about the research that has established the links of chiropractic with potential risk of stroke and death – which is much more than can be said about the letter to the editor that the chiropractors of Cheshire offered on their one-page “retort”. The website also provides all the articles related to the Stephen Piserchia case. (He is a chiropractor here in Connecticut that made harassing calls to CSAG, and was sentenced for his crimes.)
In the ‘links’ section of the website is the link to Science-Based Medicine and the fine article by Harriet Hall, MD entitled Chiropractic and Stroke.
Perhaps its just my admitted biases to favoring things such as data, evidence, and logic, but I think I would rather take the sum of information from groups like CSAG and blogs such as Science-Based Medicine rather than rely on a letter to the editor which is chock full of logical fallacies and un-cited statistics. Also, considering the source of the letter was written by the people whose bank accounts are most directly affected, that in itself is about as big a ‘red flag’ as can be waived in the air.