Chiropractic Safety and Kids

There has been a high profile article running in the Fairfax newspapers this week about a Chiropractor who treated an infant and as was reported in the paper, the infants neck was broken, which was disputed by the Chiropractic Association.

Here is a report from the Honorable Mrs Miller, Member of Parliament for Bundamba, QLD on this particular case from Wednesday October 16, 2013.
Mrs MILLER (Bundamba—ALP) (9.06 pm): Many thousands of Australians seek relief from spinal related health problems through treatment by qualified chiropractors. Chiropractors are now nationally registered, five-year university trained health professionals. Recently, constituents in my electorate of Bundamba have raised with me concerns about the safety of chiropractic treatment following sensationalised media reporting. I wish to assist my constituents and chiropractic patients across Australia to make up their own minds about the facts behind these media reports on the safety of chiropractic care, particularly in relation to the care of children. On 29 September the Sydney Sun Herald and the Melbourne Age carried prominent stories under the banner headlines ‘Call for age limit after chiropractor breaks baby’s neck’ and ‘Chiros warned off treating children’. The stories related to the supposed outcome of an investigation by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, AHPRA, into a Melbourne chiropractor’s treatment of a four-month-old female child. The media reports stated of the child that ‘one of her vertebrae was fractured during a chiropractic treatment’. The safety of children is paramount and it is AHPRA’s statutory responsibility to uphold the highest standards for all health professions in order to maintain public safety and confidence in our health system. AHPRA did indeed properly investigate this matter, and I table the independent expert report received by AHPRA, along with the consulting radiologist’s report and a CD containing copies of the MRI, CT scans and X-rays taken of the child.
CONCLUSION: No evidence of fracture. The appearance of pedicles at C2 is consistent with bilateral spondylosis (sic). In plain terms, the child suffers from a congenital condition which prevents her spine hardening in the normal way. The symptoms of this condition can be confused with what is called hangman’s fracture, but the radiology report right from the beginning of this matter made it clear there was no fracture. The child’s father suffers from a similar condition. The chiropractor did not and could not have broken the child’s neck because there was never a broken neck to start with. There are clear lessons here about the need for effective communications between health practitioners from different health professions treating the same patient.