Practitioners of the Chiropractic Arts Must Maintain Highest Ethical Standards in Missouri

Chiropractic care continues to suffer from an image problem. Some believe that the chiropractic arts are a bit of witchcraft or voodoo because they are skeptical of its benefits as a healing art. Notwithstanding, given the proliferation of chiropractors in the United States, and in Missouri in particular, chiropractic care continues to grow as a legitimate health care alternative, despite its image problem. Chiropractors must be vigilant to uphold the highest duty of care to their patients as well as their ethical duties so the credibility of the healing art may progress. Any deviation from that high standard can have disastrous consequences for the practitioner. The potentially disastrous consequences is why Professional licensing attorney Danielle Sanger is committed to defending actions against chiropractor’s licenses.

In 2011, the Missouri Bar Association published an article relating to the proper evaluation of chiropractic malpractice relating to strokes purportedly caused by neck manipulation. The risk of stroke, incidentally, the existence of which is conceded by chiropractors, is caused by the twisting of the neck, or cervical spine, which can create a shearing of the major blood vessels leading to the brain. The shearing deprives the brain of necessary blood resulting in a stroke. The article cites a study conducted by medical doctors concluding that manipulation of the neck causes stroke in nearly 1 out of every 40,000 manipulations. By stark contrast, studies advanced by chiropractors conclude the risk of stroke by neck manipulation is 1 in 5.85 million.

The article cautions the legal practitioner on properly evaluating whether the chiropractor committed malpractice causing a stroke. In fact, the article discusses how a plaintiff’s potential expert at trial, i.e., a neurologist, has a natural bias against chiropractic care, which diminishes their credibility as an expert.  That’s on the one hand. On the other, the author instructs the case evaluator to consider the promises and rhetoric a chiropractor uses to convince a potential patient that there is a dire need for chiropractic care vis-a-vis traditional medical care. The author advises that a chiropractor’s website and advertisements are filled with information that can be used against the practitioner.

Ensuring the ethical practice of chiropractic care can only serve to advance the public perception and benefit of chiropractic care. Thus, a chiropractor who truly believes in the healing arts will benefit from closely following the ethical guidelines delineated by the Missouri State Regulations as well as the American Chiropractic Association Code of Ethics. The Missouri State Regulations (“the Regulations”) require a chiropractor to inform the patient of the patient’s “abnormalities” and provide an honest assessment of whether chiropractic care will benefit the patient. Similarly, the American Chiropractic Association Code of Ethics (“Code of Ethics”) mandates a chiropractor to build “trust” in a clinician–patient relationship. Consistent with the Regulations, the Code of Ethics instructs the chiropractor to be completely honest with the patient about the causes of the ailments for which treatment is sought and the possible outcomes as well as the chiropractor’s skill and education.

As the article referenced above indicates, the competition for chiropractic patients is greater than that of a medical doctor’s. Accordingly, chiropractors who choose to advertise must do so without being false or misleading. For instance, promising or guaranteeing certain results will be reached is strictly prohibited by both the Regulations and the Code of Ethics. Preying upon a vulnerable population, such as people suffering from chronic pain, or solicitation of business in the immediate aftermath of an accident, is also prohibited.

Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Danielle Sanger has devoted her career to defending professional licensees, such as chiropractors, in both Missouri and Kansas. Attorney Sanger, with her experience as an assistant attorney general, will represent you with zeal to protect your license from discipline should you be accused of violating an ethical rule. Call Missouri professional licensing attorney Danielle Sanger at 785-979-4353 to schedule your free consultation and learn what a difference dedication and experience can make for you.