NSW chiropractor treated newborn baby in Wollongong Private Hospital

Following on immediately from our previous posts about a Queensland chiropractor adjusting a patient in the intensive care unit of Cairns Base Hospital (in 2014), and a Melbourne chiropractor admitting to entering maternity units (in 2015), we can now bring you this much more recent example of a chiropractor entering a maternity unit to treat a newborn baby.

Chiropractor Grant Bond runs a business named The Back Dr Shellharbour. He has featured in this blog before – Anti-vaccine chiropractors 52 – regarding several anti-vaccination and anti-fluoride posts, as well as posts and videos claiming to treat ear infections. One video also claims that chiropractic can assist in boosting one’s immunity. None of these posts have been removed. Bond also controls several online fora where his customers post illegal testimonials.

Bond is/was a professional member of the discredited Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network, which now has a public health warning against its name.

On April 2 2016, Bond posted a photo on his Facebook page which was taken in the maternity ward of the Wollongong Private Hospital. Bond has since removed the photo, however, the photo was published on the page for at least three days. It is understood that the hospital was not able to comment on Bond’s entry into the maternity ward [Edit: as noted in the Sydney Morning Herald, today, the Wollongong Private Hospital has stated that Bond did not have permission to enter the hospital and treat this baby].

Bond claimed that his adjustment of the baby allowed the baby to have “his first poo!” He also claimed that the baby responded “instantly to…chiropractic care”:

Bond 20 April 2 2016 pixelated baby Wollongong Private Hospital

There are several questions which arise from the publication of this photo, and they all pertain to the Chiropractic Board of Australia’s Code of conduct for chiropractors, as well as the Guidelines for advertising regulated health services, and the Social Media Policy.

The Code of conduct is explicit in its governance of chiropractors and healthcare facilities. One would hope all of these points were addressed before Bond gained entry to the maternity ward:

CBA 9 Code of Conduct 6.5 Provision of care in a Healthcare facility

Apart from the alleged hospital breach, and the breaches contained in the previous blog post, Bond also posts time-limited offers on a very frequent basis.

On April 28 2016, Bond posted this time-limited offer (another post featured on April 26 2016). His Facebook page is plastered with these posts:

Bond 19 April 28 2016 time limited offer

The Guidelines for advertising states the following:

6.2.5 Encouraging indiscriminate or unnecessary use of health services

Advertising may contravene the National Law when it…makes use of time-limited offers which influence a consumer to make decisions under the pressure of time and money rather than about their health care needs. An offer is considered time-limited if it is made to purchase for a limited or specific period of time, or available for use within a limited period of time or by a specific date, without an option to exit the arrangement.

CBA 12 time limited offers Guidelines for advertising 6.2.5

Over on Bond’s website we find this list of “conditions helped”. All of the hyperlinks contained in this screenshot are still live:

Bond 22 website May 5 2016 conditions helped

Given the ruptures that previous breaches of this kind had on the chiropractic profession it would be surprising if the Chiropractic Board of Australia failed to act in any meaningful way in regards to the examples contained above.

The following addenda contain excerpts from the Chiropractic Board of Australia’s codes, guidelines, and social media policy from which the reader may wish to select to lodge any complaint regarding the practice of Grant Bond and The Back Dr Shellharbour.

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Addendum 1

Code of conduct for chiropractors.

1.2 Professional values and qualities

[Practitioners] have a duty to keep their skills and knowledge up to date, refine and develop their clinical judgement as they gain experience, and contribute to their profession.

All practitioners have a responsibility to recognise and work within the limits of their competence, scope and areas of practice. Areas of practice vary according to different roles; for example, health practitioners, education providers, researchers and managers will all have quite different competencies and scopes of practice.

2.1 Providing good care. Introduction

a appropriately assessing the patient, taking into account their history (history includes relevant psychological, social and cultural aspects), views and conducting an appropriate physical examination

b ensuring that the diagnosis/clinical impression is appropriate, relevant, justifiable and based on sound clinical reasoning

d formulating and implementing a reasonable management plan (including providing treatment/care and advice and, where relevant, arranging investigations and liaising with other treating practitioners)

2.2 Good practice

a recognising and working within the limits of the chiropractor’s competence and scope and area of practice, which may change over time

b maintaining adequate knowledge and skills to provide safe and effective care, including providing treatment/care and advice and where relevant, arranging investigations and liaising with, or referring to, other health professionals

e considering the balance of benefit and harm in all clinical management decisions

g providing treatment/care options based on the best available information and practising in an evidence-based context and not being influenced by financial gain or incentives

h ensuring that services offered are provided with the best possible skill, care and competence

m ensuring that the chiropractor’s personal views do not adversely affect the care of their patients, and

n evaluating practice and the decisions made and action taken in providing good care.

3.4 Confidentiality and privacy

b seeking consent from patients before disclosing or sharing information

g ensuring that all staff are aware of the need to respect the confidentiality and privacy of patients and refrain from discussing patients in a non-professional context

j ensuring that use of social media and e-health is consistent with the practitioner’s ethical and legal obligations to protect privacy

3.5 Informed consent

b providing an explanation of the treatment/care recommended, its likely duration, expected benefits and cost, any alternative(s) to the proposed care, their relative risks/benefits, as well as the likely consequences of no care

c obtaining informed consent or other valid authority before undertaking any examination or investigation, providing treatment/care (this may not be possible in an emergency) or involving patients in teaching or research, including providing information on material risks

3.6 Informed financial consent

a ensuring that any financial agreement is based on the clinical needs of the patient

3.7 Children and young people

b placing the interests and wellbeing of the child or young person first

d ensuring informed consent to providing care for children involves the patient’s parent and/or guardian being provided with clinically relevant information for the chiropractic management of the child; unless a chiropractor judges that a child is of sufficient age and mental and emotional capacity to give their own consent to a service and relevant state and territory laws are complied with

e ensuring that risks of care and alternatives to care are sufficiently explained as these are essential elements of informed consent

4.1 Use of diagnostic and therapeutic modalities in chiropractic practice

a a full and thorough assessment of patients using tools, tests and procedures that are appropriate for the gathering of information necessary to form a reasonable diagnosis or clinical impression

c only using diagnostic tools, tests and procedures in accordance with established protocols for their appropriate use

d evaluating and reporting the data obtained in a contextual way to ensure that a reasonable and relevant diagnosis/clinical impression is formed, and that appropriate and necessary care is provided

e when using tools, tests and procedures in formulating a diagnosis/clinical impression, management plan and/or for prognostic purposes, the tools used should be for conditions where there are demonstrated acceptable levels of reliability and validity, and

f not misrepresenting the clinical value or significance of the findings of any tool, test or procedure.

5.1 Respect for colleagues and other practitioners

b acknowledging and respecting the contribution of all practitioners involved in patient care

6.4 Public health matters

a understanding the principles of public health, including health education, health promotion, disease prevention, and control and screening

b participating in efforts to promote the health of the community and being aware of obligations in disease prevention, including screening and reporting notifiable diseases where relevant

6.5 Provision of care in a healthcare facility

Good practice involves:

a seeking permission to access and provide care

b adhering to and following the policies and procedures of the facility

c communicating effectively with other practitioners involved in the management of the patient

d keeping the the facility informed of any care

e ensuring professional indemnity insurance (PII) coverage to cover care in that facility, and

f keeping adequate records.

9.6 Advertising

a complying with the National Board’s Advertising guidelines and relevant state and territory legislation and Commonwealth law.

b making sure that any information published about services is factual and verifiable

10.2 Chiropractors’ health

c understanding the principles of immunisation against communicable diseases

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Addendum 2

Guidelines for advertising regulated health services

6.2 Prohibited advertising under the National Law

Section 133 of the National Law prohibits advertising that:

– is false, misleading or deceptive or is likely to be so
– offers a gift, discount or other inducement to attract a user of the health service without stating the terms and conditions of the offer
– uses testimonials or purported testimonials
– creates an unreasonable expectation of beneficial treatment, and/or
– encourages the indiscriminate or unnecessary use of health services.

Maximum penalty—

a in the case of an individual—$5,000; or

b in the case of a body corporate—$10,000.

6.2.1 Misleading or deceptive advertising

Section 133 of the National Law states:

1 A person must not advertise a regulated health service, or a business that provides a regulated health service, in a way that –

a Is false, misleading or deceptive or is likely to be misleading or deceptive

Eg:

– mislead, either directly, or by implication, use of emphasis, comparison, contrast or omission

– only provide partial information which could be misleading

– imply that the regulated health services can be a substitute for public health vaccination or immunisation

– advertise the health benefits of a regulated health service when there is no proof that such benefits can be attained, and/or

– compare different regulated health professions or practitioners, in the same profession or across professions, in a way that may mislead or deceive.

6.2.2 Gifts and discounts

Section 133 of the National Law states:

1 A person must not advertise a regulated health service, or a business that provides a regulated health service, in a way that –

b Offers a gift, discount or other inducement to attract a person to use the service or the business, unless the advertisement also states the terms and conditions of the offer

Advertising may contravene the National Law when it:

– contains price information that is inexact

– contains price information that does not specify any terms and conditions or variables to an advertised price, or that could be considered misleading or deceptive

– states an instalment amount without stating the total cost (which is a condition of the offer), and/or

– does not state the terms and conditions of offers of gifts, discounts or other inducements.

6.2.3 Testimonials

Section 133 of the National Law states:

1 A person must not advertise a regulated health service, or a business that provides a regulated health service, in a way that –

c Uses testimonials or purported testimonials about the service or business

6.2.4 Unreasonable expectation of beneficial treatment

Section 133 of the National Law states:

1 A person must not advertise a regulated health service, or a business that provides a regulated health service, in a way that –

d Creates an unreasonable expectation of beneficial treatment

6.2.5 Encouraging indiscriminate or unnecessary use of health services

Section 133 of the National Law states:

1 A person must not advertise a regulated health service, or a business that provides a regulated health service, in a way that –

e Directly or indirectly encourages the indiscriminate or unnecessary use of regulated health services

Advertising may contravene the National Law when it:

– makes use of time-limited offers which influence a consumer to make decisions under the pressure of time and money rather than about their health care needs.

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Addendum 3

Social media policy

When using social media, health practitioners should remember that the National Law, their National Board’s code of ethics and professional conduct (the Code of conduct) and the Guidelines for advertising regulated health services (the Advertising guidelines) apply.

Registered health practitioners should only post information that is not in breach of these obligations by:

– complying with professional obligations
– complying with confidentiality and privacy obligations (such as by not discussing patients or posting pictures of procedures, case studies, patients, or sensitive material which may enable patients to be identified without having obtained consent in appropriate situations)
– presenting information in an unbiased, evidence-based context, and
– not making unsubstantiated claims.

Additional information may be available from professional bodies and/or employers, which aims to support health practitioners’ use of social media. However, the legal, ethical, and professional obligations that registered health practitioners must adhere to are set out in the National Boards’ respective Code of conduct and the Advertising guidelines.

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About reasonable hank

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2 Responses to NSW chiropractor treated newborn baby in Wollongong Private Hospital

  1. Wow! That guy can fix everything! Must rush there with my dodgy neck. Oh wait, the doc told me I’d probably end up in a wheelchair if I ever went to a chiro. Bloody spoilsport.

  2. Andy says:

    So he scared the shit out of the baby, and this is a good thing?

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