False Media Reports about Chiropractic and Children
You Can’t Always Believe What You Read
You may have heard in the media recently about a disturbing report in which a chiropractor was accused of causing a neck fracture in a 4-month old infant.
These reports are not only misleading, they are completely wrong.
The case was referred to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Authority (AHPRA) and the results of their investigation were released last week.
Now that results of the AHPRA investigation have been released, it is clear that the child did not have a fracture at all.
The baby had a condition known as ‘congenital spondylolysis’, a birth malformation of the spine that can run in families. The father of the baby has a similar condition. On X-Ray this condition can appear similar to a ‘hangman’s fracture.’
The child is alive and well as was not injured in any way from the treatment she received from the chiropractor.
Unfortunately the media have reported on this case before the AHPRA results were fully released, resulting in false and sensationalist reporting. A small group within the medical profession has also used this case in an attempt to discredit chiropractic care for children.
Although some media reporting did get the facts right eventually (see the link to The Australian 16 Oct), it’s a case of the retraction not getting the coverage as the original false story.
Chiropractic care for children is very gentle and indeed most children enjoy their adjustments. When adjusting infants, techniques are extremely gentle with forces no greater than you could tolerate on a closed eye.
A 2007 study published in the journal Pediatrics showed that there has never been a single recorded case of a serious adverse event in a child following spinal adjustments in Australia.
This is despite the fact that there were nearly 1 million visits of children under the age of 18 years to Australian chiropractors last year alone.
Our practice is fortunate to have many good relationships with great GPs in the area. We hope that lessons will be learned, that the truth will be known, and that common sense will prevail in the end. Goodness knows, that would be in the best interests of all concerned, especially the general public.