ChiroFutures Warns Children's Healthcare of Atlanta: "Stay in Your Lane"

ChiroFutures Malpractice Program
ChiroFutures Warns Children's Healthcare of Atlanta: "Stay in Your Lane"

Letter to CHOA is Response to Attack on the Chiropractic Care of Children

ChiroFutures Malpractice Insurance Program sent a letter to Michael Schmitz, MD who is the Chief of the Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) in response to a false and inflammatory article he wrote that was published by Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and is being used as a Sponsored Ad on Facebook.

CLICK HERE for a copy of the letter

The article by Schmitz, who has no license, training or experience as a chiropractor, claims that ". . . chiropractic methods may be dangerous for babies" and advises parents to bring their children to him or one of the doctors at CHOA before brining them to see a chiropractor.

Schmitz also misrepresents the scientific literature on chiropractic and the care of children using a single research paper. The "research" is from a group of physical therapists in the Netherlands who work for a company there that provides assistance to insurance companies and governments who want to avoid paying health insurance claims.

Schmitz is an orthopedic surgeon who promotes the use of surgery to treat children for back problems like scoliosis claiming they offer "evidence-based treatments that have been heavily researched and are shown to be effective" he then goes on to state:

"These treatments include activity modification, physical therapy, bracing and dry needling, all proven in scientific studies to safely treat growing bones."

However, Schmitz neglects to tell his readers of the risks of surgery for such things as scoliosis (which is promoted heavily on CHOA's site alongside the article), or that the use of physical therapy modalities for back problems fosters dependency and offer no long term solution.

Perhaps Schmitz is unaware that two Cochrane reviews have shown that evidence for surgery is limited and that currently, there is no proof that surgery would change the signs and symptoms of scoliosis over the long-term. In fact, when discussing "evidence" Schmitz seems to leave out the harsh reality that no long-term, prospective controlled studies exist to support the hypothesis that surgical intervention for scoliosis is superior to natural history.

No where in his article does he tell parents of the risk of death or permanent disability from the invasive spine surgery he is promoting where nearly 10% of those undergoing such surgeries on their spines suffer from "complications". Those complications include death at a rate of 1.3 per 1000 - most commonly due to respiratory issues.

Nor does he mention the risk of infection, neurological deficits, hematomas or so on. Instead he focuses on transient soreness reported following chiropractic care of children.

As for dry needling, the majority of the research on this is based on adult subjects and dry needling done to children is still elementary in the research. One can only wonder what his justification is for doing dry needling on an infant.

According to Matthew McCoy DC, MPH the CEO and Co-Founder of ChiroFutures "Schmitz and CHOA decided to take the low road and instead of discussing the evidence of harm from their invasive and dangerous interventions where they cut into the bodies of children risking death and disability in that child, they go after chiropractic. Its absurd." McCoy continued "Somebody should ask Schmitz what his malpractice insurance costs him every year and what his mortality and infection rates are."

In the letter sent by ChiroFutures they warn Schmitz and CHOA that

". . . in the State of Georgia it is unlawful for any person to practice chiropractic unless that person shall have first obtained a license to practice chiropractic as provided in Georgia Statutes."

They go on to warn:

"Further, any person who practices or attempts to practice chiropractic without a license or induces the belief that such a person is engaged in the practice of chiropractic without first obtaining a chiropractic license is guilty of a felony."

In regards to Schmitz's false and inflammatory claim that ". . . chiropractic methods may be dangerous for babies" - ChiroFutures Malpractice Program stated:

". . .We are not aware of any actuarial data showing an increase in adverse events from the tens of millions of pediatric chiropractic visits per year. In fact, malpractice insurance rates for chiropractors in Georgia range from a few hundred to just a couple thousand dollars per year. Contrast that with the tens of thousands of dollars per year that orthopedic surgeons pay and any parent can see for themselves which profession is safer. According to Johns Hopkins there are an estimated 250,000 deaths per year in the United States due to medical error. This would make medical errors and your profession the third highest cause of death in the country."

As with the chiropractic care of adults, an evidence informed perspective respects the needs and wants of parents for the care of their child, the published research evidence and the clinical expertise of chiropractors in the care of children.

What chiropractors do is minimally invasive and typically nothing else but their hands are used to gently ease any obstruction to the functioning of the patient's nervous system. Since the nervous system controls and coordinates all functions of the body it is important to be sure it is functioning as best it can with no obstructions and no matter the disease afflicting the patient.

State and provincial laws, federal governments, international, national and state chiropractic organizations and chiropractic educational institutions all support the role and responsibility of chiropractors in the management of children's health. The rationale for chiropractic care of children is supported by published protocols that are safe, efficacious, and valid. The scientific literature is sufficiently supportive of the usefulness of these protocols in regard to the chiropractic care of children.

Those contending that there is no evidence supporting the safety and efficacy of the chiropractic care of children demonstrate a complete disregard for the evidence and scientific facts related to the chiropractic care of children.

ChiroFutures encourages and supports a shared decision making process between doctors and patients regarding health needs. As a part of that process, patients have a right to be informed about the state of their health as well as the risks, benefits and alternatives related to care. Any restriction on that dialogue or compelled statements inconsistent with the doctrine of informed consent present a threat to public health.

In their letter, ChiroFutures suggested Dr. Schmitz's ". . . scaremongering is better directed towards your own profession as opposed to one with a recognized safety record as good as chiropractic. Either way, we encourage you and your providers at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta to stay in your lane when it comes to your specialty and not attempt to practice or advise on a profession for which you are neither trained nor licensed."

CLICK HERE for a copy of the letter to Schmitz & CHOA

CLICK HERE for a copy of "In Their Best Interests: The Role of Parents in Health Care Decisions for their Children"

ChiroFutures Malpractice Program