Broken vertebrae in baby deemed not related to chiropractic (UPDATE)

In an update to this story about chiropractic treatment supposedly to blame for causing a fractured vertebrae of a four-month-old baby last year, the chiropractors was deemed not at fault.

Chiropractor cleared over ‘break’ | The Australian.

An expert report undertaken by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, a federal body set up to replace state-based health regulators, quoted a radiologist who examined the four-month-old baby and found that there was “no evidence of fracture”.

It looks like this claim has gone away. However, it does not validate chiropractic and certainly not for children. There remains NO good evidence that chiropractic is helpful compared to the known risks.

But the doctor stands by his claim. Hmm.

Doctor stands by claim on baby injury despite chiropractic body’s denial.

But Dr Pappas said he was certain the four-month-old baby girl had sustained a fracture, which was confirmed by a radiologist, and he said further investigations revealed the baby had a congenital condition, which the chiropractor had overlooked. He said this condition put the infant at higher risk of injury and complicated the baby’s treatment after she was taken to hospital with a broken neck.

UPDATE (21-Oct-2013) The dispute about the case continues.

The chiropractic profession is being accused of a “poor-quality” investigation to clear a chiropractor who allegedly caused an infant’s neck fracture.

But leaked copies of an AHPRA report surfaced last week that appear to support the original complaint from Dr Pappas, who suggested a chiropractic manipulation caused the fracture.

Others were able to see the redacted report and assert that is clearly does state there was a fracture. Mick Vagg has the entire history here. The chiropractic association is in defensive mode because this finding would be devastating to their reputation.

Tip: John Cunningham on Twitter

  7 comments for “Broken vertebrae in baby deemed not related to chiropractic (UPDATE)

  1. October 15, 2013 at 8:49 PM

    There’s two things I’m getting sick of in Australia at the moment: chiropractors claiming that chiropractic treatments cure pretty much everything, and acupuncture therapists claiming that acupuncture cures pretty much anything.

    I wrote an article a while back on a very irresponsible acupuncture clinic in Brisbane that was actively advising the public to stop seeking science based medicine, stop going to hospitals and stop seeing their GP’s and seek acupuncture instead. This included things like cancer treatments and severe neurological diseases.

    It’s disgusting.

  2. neko
    October 15, 2013 at 10:13 PM

    It seems there were a lot of practitioners openly boasting of adjusting the magical power spots of babies and people with spinal taps, etc., in the guise of play or cuddling. That is, before the media took this story up.

    It just never occurred to me they would do their adjustments in such an informal way in such situations. But I guess so.

    The reasonablehank blog had a particularly astonishing list of chiropractors making such claims.

  3. Richard
    October 16, 2013 at 5:39 AM

    Chiropractors have every right to treat children when indicated. I agree that they should be held to high standards and yes they need to fit into the medical model by referring when necessary. I am glad that after the sensationalized demonizing that this is printed.

  4. October 16, 2013 at 8:19 AM

    Richard. I disagree. There remains no evidence that chiropractic is beneficial for children or adults. And I don’t see how chiropractic can ever fit into a medical model that is science-based (which is the one that is reliable) since it is not a scientific concept.

    Chiropractic deserves all the criticism it gets, and more. People think it is something that it’s not.

  5. skeptictmac57
    October 16, 2013 at 8:54 AM

    My understanding is that the underpinning theory behind chiropractic is total pseudoscience,but they do have modest evidence for the relief of lower back pain,similar to massage or physical therapy.And only for adults,and never the upper back or neck.

  6. October 16, 2013 at 10:40 AM

    I’m not convinced that the broken neck claim has, as you suggest, “gone away”. The Chiropractors’ Association of Australia (CAA) has publicly stated that it “wants AHPRA to release full details of the investigation”. See here:

    IMO, until *all* the facts are known, there’s no way to determine who was to blame for the baby’s ghastly injury.

    Let’s see how much effort the CAA puts into obtaining the facts…

  7. October 21, 2013 at 11:17 AM

    Yeah, it’s looking pretty damning for the chiropractor and his “regulators.”

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