The Brady Bill and Chiropractic

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              It doesn’t matter what position on gun control you take.  Both sides would agree that the efforts by the anti-gun forces are merely the beginning.  the NRA seems like a group of radicals because they appear to oppose any kind of restrictive gun legislation.  Is a five-day waiting period such a bad thing?  Are assault weapons really of value to anyone but criminals?  Yet the NRA stands firm in their position.  They claim that if they give ground in any area they will eventually lose everything, including the second amendment.  On the other side, the anti-gun lobby, Handgun Control, Inc., and Mrs. Brady have made clear their intentions.  They want all guns outlawed.  They will be satisfied in doing that, one step at a time.  They know that a complete ban on guns would have no chance of passing at this time.  Yet they also know that their goal, stopping deaths due to guns, cannot occur without a total ban on all firearms.  But they have to take it slow. It’s like the boiled frog principle.  If you drop a frog into boiling water it will leap out.  but put him in cold water and slowly bring it up to a boil and he won’t even know he’s becoming frog stew!  It is ironic that the first time I heard the frog metaphor was in a talk given by a well known chiropractic leader, perhaps the most influential chiropractor in the world.  Since that time the water he is swimming around in has gone up about 50 degrees and he doesn’t even know it!

          The mixing aspect of the profession wants chiorpactic to become like medicine.  The medical profession also wants chiropractic to become like medicine.  (Actually, they would like to eliminate us, but not able to do that they want us to be a limited branch.)  The government wants us to become medicine.  It’s easier to deal with one profession.  Even the public and our patients are constantly trying to make us into a treatment for certain medical conditions.  All these forces are coming down upon straight chiropractic.  When one-third  of the profession wants us to add drugs to chiropractic, the suggestion that we do a few medical procedures doesn’t seem so bad.  It’s like  agreeing that assault weapons are bad.  it even makes you seem a little more acceptable and a little less radical.

          We straights seem like the radical equivalent of the NRA because we say we draw the line at anything medical getting into chiropractic.  Is it so bad to add a few innocuous diagnostic codes to our insurance forms?  Is that going to destroy the philosophy of chiropractic?  No!  No more than a five-day waiting period will remove the handgun from people’s nightstands.  But it is a start.  It turns up the flame a few degrees.  The CCE wants the straight schools to do vital signs in their health centers.  Is that so bad, listening to the heart, checking the blood pressure, weighing the patient, taking a pulse?  It doesn’t mean that tomorrow we will be doing gynecological or proctologic exams, plugging in the ultrasound and prescribing drugs.  But it’s a start.  Make no mistake about it, that is where the mixing element of the profession wants us to go.  After all, if that is what  they think is the best way to practice chiropractic, why should they want us to practice an inferior form?  If they didn’t care how we practiced they’d leave us alone.  They do not want us to just do vital signs any more than Sarah Brady is satisfied with a five-day waiting period on handgun purchases.  It’s just a start.  Where do we draw the line?  When do we jump out of the boiling water?  Once we start saying to patients that medical procedures are important to your health, from a chiropractic standpoint or that they are a necessary part of the practice, we have lost the battle.  It is then only a matter of deciding which medical procedures are important and it is only a matter of time before medicine determines more and more are necessary and important, and we follow their lead.  Fifteen years ago x-rays were the medical diagnostic standard of care.  Today, CAT scans and MRI’s are.  The CCE may let us in with just vital signs today.  But in 1995 it will be full body exams and diagnosis.  In 1996 it will be only adjusting if there is a diagnostic rationale (a treatable condition present).  In 1997 vertebral subluxation will not be considered a treatable condition unless it is accompanied by signs and symptoms of a medical nature.  In 1998 we will be told which medical conditions we can correct subluxation for (musculoskeletal conditions).  Is that so far fetched?  Isn’t that exactly what the mixing profession recognizes chiropractic as right now?  The question is, when did we lose straight chiropactic, 1998? 1997? 1196? No, we lost it when we agreed to the first medical procedure. 

          The anti-gun people are in a  win–win situation.  If the Brady Bill appears to help curb the crime rate in this country, they will say “See, we will do better with even stronger measures.”  If it doesn’t make a difference, they will say “See, we knew all along we need stronger measures.”  The NRA knows that giving in even the slightest can only destroy their cause.  They must continually maintain that guns are not the issue, criminals are.  In the process, they get a radical uncompromising image.

          The mixers are in a similar win-win situation.  If we add vital signs and other medical procedures and our profession’s image, acceptance, and respect grows, the mixers will say “See, we need to do more things medical.”  If it does not help improve us as a profession, they will say “See, we are not doing enough to gain the respect and acceptance we want, we need to do more.”  They have been saying just that for over 80 years:

          1910:  If we can just get licensed, we’ll have the respect and acceptance we want.  We didn’t.

          1935:  If we can just lengthen our school programs equal to medicine, we will get the respect and acceptance we want.  We didn’t

          1964:  If we can just have the same education in subject matter as an M.D., we will get the respect and acceptance we want.  We didn’t.

          1970:  If we can just get included into Medicare, we will get the respect and acceptance we want.  We didn’t

          1972:  If we can just get a federally recognized accrediting agency, we will get the respect and acceptance we want.  We didn’t.

          1980:  If we can get into hospitals, we will get the respect and acceptance we want.  We didn’t.

          1985  If we can just do the same procedures as M.D.’s we will get the respect and acceptance we want.  We won’t.

          The straights are the radicals who seem totally implacable.  We must continually maintain that it is not blood pressure or listening to the heart that is the issue.  It is mixing medicine with chiropactic.  It is confusing and misleading the consumer into thinking that chiropactic care is a substitute for medical care, that chiropractors are as well-equipped and as well trained to perform medical procedures as are medical doctors.  it is sending the message to the public that chiropractic has something to do with the treatment of medical conditions.  I says to the chiropractic patient that we are as qualified as M.D.s to diagnose and deal with medical conditions and medical emergencies.  The public deserves better than chiropactors practicing any type of medicine, trying to be something we are not.

          We are outside the pot where it is easier to see certain things.  When you’re inside swimming around in tepid water, it is impossible to see the hand slowly turning up the heat.  We straights just want to stay out of the pot! v10n3

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