Making Them Wrong

By Robert Braile, D.C.

Our profession suffers from a unique problem. It seems that in order for one of us to be right, the other must be wrong. As a profession, we seem to be polarized into groups who believe that the existence of a position automatically makes other positions wrong. I see examples of this commonly when one group of chiropractors tries to enforce their view of chiropractic on another.

I recently received phone calls from a doctor who was being prosecuted by the California Chiropractic State Board because of news articles he had on his website. The interesting thing here was that the articles that the board had a problem with were news articles written for his email newsletter based on other news articles from the general press. None of the articles made any claims, All they did was report on news stories.

The CA Board claimed that these articles were unacceptable because they were not scientific. When asked, the doctor produced several sources for each article. However, they were dismissed because they were not from peer reviewed scientific journals. It seems as though being accurate and reporting on the news was not enough. This Board has decided that certain news can not be disseminated by doctors. Maybe it’s just me but I was unaware that state boards are empowered to act as bureaus of information screening.

The other area that seems to evoke this ‘I’m right and your wrong’ mentality is volume. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that most doctors would like to see more patients. However, it has become apparent that some of them who can not see volume, now take the approach that if they can not do it, others who do are wrong.

The busiest DC I know has seen over 900 people in a single day. That sounds incredible to most of us, but to some it sounds wrong. I’ve heard DCs say that anyone who sees that many people must be delivering sub-standard care. This always amazed me as patients are not forced to go to a Chiropractor. All the people who go to any chiropractor do so because they made the decision to go. They go back because they liked the experience and want to return.

I liken this to going to a restaurant. If you go to a restaurant, and the food is bad, the service is poor and the price is high, then do you keep returning? In fact, the restaurants most people return to are the ones that are busy. This same logic is true with chiropractic offices. If an office is amazingly busy, then the people who go there are satisfied, or they would not go back and that office would not be busy. It is the consumer that decides if an office should be busy.

With this understanding, I find it curious for any DC to criticize another because the other DC is busy. Honestly, who cares what we think? Isn’t it what the consumer thinks that counts? Oh, but of course “I know better,”. Therefore, that other DC must be wrong.

I would like to make a radical suggestion here. Maybe we are all wrong. Maybe the ones who are right are the consumers who come in for our care. After all, they are the ones who got us licenses in all 50 states. (Our egos want to tell us that we did this.) Consumers are the ones who got us insurance equality. In fact, consumers are the ones who got us every major advancement we have ever made.

For the past several decades, chiropractic has gone through a period where a minority of DCs have tried to limit the growth of chiropractic by placing restrictions on practice, hardships on getting a license, and added requirements for getting into chiropractic colleges. Because of this “I know better. I’m right.” attitude, our profession has actually decreased in size over the past few years. Several schools have almost closed and several are on the brink of bankruptcy.

This increasing tragedy comes at the time when people are turning to non-medical forms of healthcare in record numbers. This comes at a time when the Internet provides consumers with more information than they’ve ever had available before. This comes at a time when some offices are seeing hundreds to even thousands patients per week.

t a time when consumers are trying to tell us something, many in our profession are busy making others in our profession wrong. Just maybe, we need to listen to our bosses, the consumers. Believe it or not, they may just know best