Tuesday, October 12, 2010
In the fall of 1980 as I struggled to understand why the chiropractic profession was heralded by chiropractic patients throughout the world, but badmouthed by most medical doctors in the US, the real battle was raging. I had recently begun receiving effective chiropractic treatment for my low back pain and wondered why Consumer Reports and others were publishing such critical reviews of the profession.
Dr. Michael Pedigo, a chiropractor in California, a courageous man of honesty, directness and profound perseverance, died this last Sunday on October 10, 2010.
In 1980, while I tried to sort out my back pain of 19 years, and understand how the chiropractic profession could be called both the savior and Satin, Dr. Pedigo, one of 5 plaintiffs, was already 4 years into a legal battle to save the chiropractic profession from intended lethal-attack by a competing health care profession.
The following are parts of an article written by Dr. Pedigo, and entitled “Wilk vs. AMA: Was It Worth the Fight?”, which was published on July 13, 1998.
“In this article, I will address why five doctors of chiropractic filed the antitrust lawsuit in 1976 (Wilk vs. AMA [American Medical Association]) and highlight some of the victories we won. The reason was really simple: The AMA had created a written goal to "contain and eliminate" a competitor, the chiropractic profession. They created elaborate plans to accomplish this, and then they worked very hard to implement the plans.
In the early 1960s, the AMA had become concerned about the growing cooperation between MDs and DCs [Doctor of Chiropractic]. That was not helpful to their "contain and eliminate" goal, so they changed their canon of ethics to make it unethical for any MD to associate with a DC in any way, shape or form. It was unethical for an MD to refer a patient to (or even accept a referral from) a DC.
Can you imagine it being unethical to accept a referral? Yet it was. During the trial, one of the AMA's expert witnesses testified that he would rather see a patient die before accepting a referral from a chiropractor! It's unbelievable but true, and recorded in the court records for all time. MDs were not allowed to teach or address students at chiropractic colleges or chiropractors at gatherings of DCs, nor were DCs allowed to address medical students or gatherings of MDs. It was a complete and total illegal boycott of our profession.
A second part of their plan was to destroy the credibility of our profession in all segments of society and to destroy the self-esteem of the chiropractor. They did this in many ways, one of which was to go around the country telling MDs and medical students that chiropractors were like "killers and rabid dogs." They always referred to us as unscientific cultists and quacks. Society in general listened to their brainwashing lies, because in those days the AMA was considered "God" when it came to health matters. When the media and legislators wanted information about our profession, they asked the AMA rather than the ACA [American Chiropractic Association] or ICA [International Chiropractors Association]. Because the AMA was held in such high esteem by society, what they said in those days was taken at face value. Rarely did anyone question the accuracy of their statements. During the discover[y] process in this case, we were able to determine that just about every anti-chiropractic statement in the media and organizations, such as senior citizens groups and unions, could be traced back to the AMA getting "second parties" to spread their propaganda. My patients refused to tell their MD that they were seeing a DC. Those that did were told to stop coming because I might "kill them." It wasn't until years later, after filing the lawsuit, that I learned why MDs were saying such things. The AMA was telling them that we were "killers and rabid dogs"!
Since only half of the MDs were AMA members, they needed a hook to force non-AMA members to abide by their boycott of our profession. They got the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals (JCAH), which the AMA controlled, to adopt the same ethical restraint of associating with DCs they adopted. This was a very powerful hook. MDs that did not follow that rule could lose their hospital privileges. An MD without hospital privileges would be in a world of hurt. That was one of the strong tools they used to enforce their boycott against our profession.
The following is a brief summary statement of how broad and far-reaching the AMA's actions were:
"Evidence at the trial showed that the defendants took active steps, often covert, to undermine chiropractic educational institutions, conceal evidence of the usefulness of chiropractic care, undercut insurance programs for patients of chiropractors, subvert government inquiries into the efficacy of chiropractic, engage in a massive disinformation campaign to discredit and destabilize the chiropractic profession, and engaged in numerous other activities to maintain a medical physician monopoly over health care in this country."
On August 27, 1987, the judge issued a 101-page opinion finding the AMA guilty of long-term wrongdoing and illegally attempting to eliminate the chiropractic profession. In September of 1987, the judge issued a permanent injunction against the AMA and all of its members from ever trying to destroy our profession through such an illegal boycott again.
On February 7, 1990, the Court of Appeals found the AMA guilty. On November 26, 1990, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the trial court and the Court of Appeals' finding. In January of 1992, the final settlement took place between the AMA and the plaintiffs to complete all terms of the court order, thus ending one of the longest antitrust legal battles in the history of this country. Was it worth it? Without a doubt!"
To read the rest, go to: http://www.dynamicchiropractic.com/mpacms/dc/article.php?id=37334