Anti-vaccine chiropractor still giving the bird to AHPRA

Only a few days after the Chiropractic Board of Australia issued its press release demanding chiropractors cease publishing anti-vaccination misinformation, I started a series called Anti-vaccine chiropractors. The August 8 2013 CBA release stated:

The Chiropractic Board of Australia cracks down to protect the public.

The Chiropractic Board of Australia is cracking down on chiropractors who step outside their primary role as healthcare practitioners and provide treatment that puts the public at risk.

To protect public safety, the Board has:

– ordered practitioners to remove all anti-vaccination material from their websites and clinics
– removed several courses from the list of approved CPD programs, and
– introduced random audits of practitioner compliance with the Board’s registration standards.

The long-awaited and seemingly toothless missive from the CBA prompted me to start my series highlighting instances of chiropractic anti-vaccinationism, predominantly by members of the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia. It wasn’t only the ordinary members spreading the lies of the anti-vaccination movement; it was also board members of the various CAA franchises. Truly despicable.

Number 3 in my series was an anti-vaccine chiropractor named Tom Dawson. From that post:

I want to introduce you to Tom Dawson, member of the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia, who conducts his business at Wellbeing Hawthorn.

What really rustled my jimmies with this guy were these two excerpts from his own anti-vaccine screed:

I don’t hear about unvaccinated kids dying of these diseases

 All of the children getting these diseases, dying from them and/or featured in the media HAVE BEEN VACCINATED

There truly aren’t enough expletives for the callousness and ineptitude of people like this, so I won’t go there.

Anyway, fortunately for us, Dawson proved that he was aware of the CBA crackdown. He commented on my post:

Comments you have posted are about my opinions expressed on my personal FB page, topics such as immunisation, which i remind you is still a choice in this country that requires consent, are not discussed in my office on a regular basis as I don’t feel it is my scope of practice, I encourage my clients to thoroughly investigate ANY medical procedure thoroughly before agreeing to it.

So, he attempted to shy away from his social media responsibilities by claiming that the comments were made on his open, personal Facebook profile. He also gave a summation as to what information he shares with his customers. Sorry, I just don’t believe him. Especially when I find this posted on his business’s Facebook page, from just last month – well after the CBA directives:

Dawson 5 MMR autism

And remember. We are also dealing with a person possessing the hubris to believe they can walk into any hospital and treat patients. Yes, he is one of those:

CAA Hospital 14 DawsonThe Chiropractic Board of Australia needs to show their mettle. It is becoming more than obvious that the regulation of these people is useless. And it seems the AHPRA experiment has failed. All that has happened is that chiropractors were permitted to claim the “doctor” title, with no public health benefit in return, apart from arrogance and a disdain for evidence.

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23 Responses to Anti-vaccine chiropractor still giving the bird to AHPRA

  1. wzrd1 says:

    As the Chiropractic Board of Australia has repeatedly failed to adhere with their own directives, enforce those directives, police their own ranks and adhere with science based medicine or any moral construct beyond law of the jungle, it appears time that their ranks be policed for them by the legislature.
    The board is not a group of thousands, indeed, the board is far under a hundred in number, as far as decision making, discipline issuance is concerned. Indeed, the governance board is sparse in number, stated their policy and refuses to enforce their policy.

    It’s time for legislation to enforce, as they are utterly unwilling to enforce their code, to the grave risk to the entire populace.

  2. Sue says:

    ”…are not discussed in my office on a regular basis” says Dawson, thereby admitting that they are discussed – albeit irregularly.

    • Nilbeliever says:

      Exactly. And he claims that this is because he doesn’t feel it’s “within [his] scope of practice”.

      Which is another way of admitting that those topic areas shouldn’t be discussed there at all, then. Regularly, irregularly or otherwise. Out of scope means out of scope, full stop.

  3. Matutines says:

    Time for legislation. These people are laughing at the community.

  4. Ken says:

    One of the worsts aspects is that because vaccines are generally not 100% perfect, eventually there will be children who were vaccinated but don’t develop full immunity who will die as a result of these people.

  5. Amy says:

    “I don’t hear about unvaccinated kids dying of these diseases
    All of the children getting these diseases, dying from them and/or featured in the media HAVE BEEN VACCINATED”
    An oldie but a goodie: http://www.jennymccarthybodycount.com/Anti-Vaccine_Body_Count/Home.html
    But yeah, if it’s not “in the media” then it doesn’t happen, right??

  6. SM says:

    AHPRA is rapidly realizing that attempting to regulate quackery and the quacks therein is futile. The veil of chiro regulatory legitimacy is crumbling ; regulation only provides a dangerous and erroneous reassurance to the public that what is being regulated ie chiro, deserves regulation and can be regulated. Against what standard do you regulate quackery? Certainly not against the evidence base because there is none. The whole sham should be deregulated and reduced to the witch-doctoring that it is.

  7. Annette says:

    These clowns need to be de registered and the book thrown at them.
    They are a joke and so is the CBA.
    These people have the gall to criticize true medical professionals.
    Can’t bear them!

  8. RS says:

    I know this chiroquack personally, and I totally agree, he should be stopped. Once upon a time, when I was a fresh-faced uni student, I worked as a weekend receptionist at Wellbeing Hawthorn, taking in plenty of cash and booking in repeats of the neverending “wellness visits”. In the months that I worked there, I saw many, many things that I thought were, at best, inappropriate and at worst, dangerous (yes, he loves to manipulate newborn babies’ spines, because they all need it for their health, don’t you know?)

    He and his wife, who was also a chiro at Wellbeing at the time, were evangelical believers in the chiro-cures-everything, allopathic medicine-kills-everything bulldust, which made me very angry and I had to quit the job. So it doesn’t surprise me at all to see Tom Dawson spouting anti-vax crap on the business’ Facebook page, not to mention recommending women rely on nutrition to prevent cancer and NOT have mammograms. My blood is boiling.

  9. Thinking_Chiro says:

    Time for AHPRA/CBA to make an example. Like with my children when they were little we set limits and enforced them. If we didn’t then their behavior would have gotten out of hand. Now they are great teens. AHPRA/CBA recently sent an email in regards to new guidelines/rules for social media and websites that will be coming out in the new year. I am sure Philip Donato of the CBA is watching this site amongst others, it is time for them to show leadership and enforce the regulations! Especially the current vaccination rules! Until then keep up the good work Hank!

  10. Not long ago, a doctor was sanctioned by AHPRA for Conduct Unbecoming. This related to some Facebook online activity wherein he (an anti abortionist) basically said mothers who abort deserved to die. Medical boards have always had the power to sanction a doctor who brings the profession into disrepute. If the Chiropractic Board does not defend the reputation of the chiropractic profession then it’s either gross incompetence or some form of acknowledgement that there is no reputation to defend. There are young chiropractors out there, by all account good manipulative therapists who are substantially woo-free, who shun the CAA and quietly facepalm when they see their more crazy colleagues like Dawson prancing around, but maybe are too shy to condemn because of a fear of making the situation worse or copping the blow-back. My message to those people would be – you need to speak up and reform your craft for your own future’s sake, no matter how painful that process is.

  11. Thinking_Chiro says:

    In reply to Julianna Sands:
    You are spot on. In a recent blog for CalJam one prominent chiro stated that “the loudest voice wins”. The subluxation true believers are becoming more and more shrill and entrenched. I have come here to voice reason and promote our side of the argument, so the public get to see that we are not all fanatical conspiracy theorists , but we need a hell of a lot more voices. Don’t sit quietly facepalming but doing nothing. ACT NOW!

  12. Alex, Chiro says:

    Totally agree that the Chiros that go against the code of conduct should be severely punished. Having said that I find it incessantly infuriating when the profession is called quackery. Majority of us a very evidence based and if you look at the education at Murdoch, Macquarie etc it’s nothing but EBM.

    • Sorry Alex. I contacted the three main universities recently for statements on the VSC. MU didn’t get back to me. RMIT still refer to subbies. Murdoch is still fuzzy on the subbie. I believe you when you say that Murdoch is an EB course, given the strong EB stance of the departmental head. But, they need to drop the subbie in the official statement. They need to get their definitions in order, and define specifically to what they are referring as a subluxation. Maybe choose different terms, and provide evidence for whatever phenomenon they are treating.

      I have been told by several EB chiros like yourself that the courses are EB. The school statements say otherwise.

      I didn’t bother contacting Ebrall. There is no point. Ever. Although, maybe I can ask him on Twitter.

      • SM says:

        One must not forget applied kinesiology which comes in at a close second only to subluxation on the quack-o-meter, currently taught In the RMIT ‘Masters’ of Chiropractic:
        http://mams.rmit.edu.au/lg4711w6w7o5.pdf
        ( on Mondays semester 2); it seems that most chiro undergraduate teaching is a dangerous mix of good science, bad science and frank quackery. An impressionable student can be forgiven for not knowing where the good science ends and the quackery begins. Clearly it is too much of a pain in the proverbial for Macquarie which is ditching the whole thing.
        BTW keep up the good work Hank.

        • wzrd1 says:

          In many ways, the current system of chiropractic medicine reminds me of the practice of medicine as science supplanted older methods of medical practice.
          The attitudes are that of still clinging to miasma and humoural theory of disease and rejecting germ theory of disease.
          Hence, the systems of practice and belief that are well over a century and a half out of date (I’m being a bit generous, due to varying acceptance in various western nations).

      • Alex, Chiro says:

        Shame MU didn’t reply (where I was taught)… We were effectively taught VSC is a poor and dangerous excuse for a diagnosis… From what I’ve heard around the traps Murdoch similar. Overall I feel the general trend is to teach VSC as a historical concept more in line with the Canadian and Norwegian systems, not as a real thing.

        Most of the Chiros out there (from my experience) are very evidence based it’s unfortunate that a loud and sadly misguided minority ruin it for the rest….

        Best course of action I would suggest is to ensure that if people have an issue to refer it to AHPRA as they can not act unless it is reported to them.

    • Also, I agree on the usage of the term “quackery”, for what it’s worth. I definitely use it for the types of chiros who feature in my posts; but not for the profession in general. There are some good people who don’t deserve the title.

    • They teach AK at RMIT? Jesus H Christ the place is a joke.

    • KS says:

      The problem with Chiro and EBM is that it is very hard/impossible to blind subjects to the treatment they have received. It may be possible to give a sham chiro but I don’t think anyone has tried it, because it would need to be something that was perfectly safe. The second problem is that acute back pain goes away on it’s own in 90+% of cases, so just looking at whether patients were happy is not very useful. It doesn’t matter what type of practitioner you go to what will make the most difference is the general advice they give about keeping active while avoiding major stress on the back. All will be happy to charge money for all the pointless things they do.

      • Good points. The problem isn’t really the chiro claims for efficacy for back pain. There is evidence for efficacy there. The main problem is the claims being made for conditions/treatments for which there is absolutely no good evidence (ear infections and the like). Those who continue to make claims as such should be dumped. What is the point of retaining their registration if they refuse to be regulated into evidence based claims?

  13. Dis says:

    I used to see Tom and for the duration I saw him for, it was always about him and not the patients. Let’s just say I’ve moved on and never looked back. Have I not stopped seeing him I probably would not even be walking, not that he was not skilled, he just did not listen. Never believed the stigma against chiropractors until Tom.

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