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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Response to Intervention review comment

Kelly's response to Anonymous comment on Robin Cook Intervention review:

Anonymous, thanks for taking the time to comment on my review. With respect, I disagree with some of your perceptions.

Actually, there certainly ARE chiropractors that would x-ray a patient with every visit. Just as there are unethical medical doctors who would, oh, give a patient a hospital grade anesthetic in the patients’ home, along with a slew of other prescriptions the patient has no need for. (Michael Jackson reference, which annoys me to no end, I can’t believe I’m using this example…) Just because a person has obtained either a chiropractic degree or an MD is certainly no guarantee of proper ethical behavior or treatment.

I’ve gone to a chiropractor myself, for a low back injury incurred in a fall. Medical doctors and their treatment had given me no relief, and the chiropractor was the one who fixed the problem. And in every visit, for my low back pain, my neck was manipulated as well. I think the point the author tries to make is one for informed consent. The book interested me enough to cause me to do some “googling” and I found some cases where, for example, Laurie Mathiason (sp.?) went to the chiropractor for a “tailbone injury”. She was 20 and died of a stroke, which the coroner attributed to spinal manipulation. Rare? Extremely. But informed consent, which for most chiropractors, my own included, which consists of a mention of a “slight risk of stroke”, could be better addressed. A report from a neurological group in Canada says that 1 in 5000 to 10,000 strokes are caused by neck manipulation. In Canada, about 100 cases of arterial dissection are linked to neck manipulation each year.

We live in a time when many parents refuse their child’s immunization, based solely on their own belief in anecdotal evidence of the vaccine/autism link. Study after study has proven no link, and yet numerous parents refuse these vaccines. Whether they’re correct or not is ample fodder for another discussion, but at least they’re informed.

I read and signed the waiver in my chiropractors office, and found “slight risk of stroke” disconcerting, but, like many, the low back pain won out over further investigation. Would I be so willing to have my neck manipulated today for low back pain? Ehhh…I really don’t know. If nothing else, Cook’s book led me to do a little research and like the vaccine question, I think it’s one everyone must answer for themselves.

As for the Catholic question, I’m not Catholic, so I don’t really have a dog in this show. But as a non-Catholic, it seemed to me that what the author is pointing out is the politics behind any large institution, secular or non-secular. And frankly, after watching the fiasco that was the pedophile priest scandal unfold, it doesn’t seem like much of a leap to me that a powerful entity would make a Cardinal a fall guy to protect their image. I suspect the story was offensive to a devout Catholic who believes in Mary’s Ascension, but since I was unfamiliar with the theology anyway, I focused more on the possible reaction the Church could have to their dogma being challenged. And to my uneducated view, it seemed appropriate. I would expect that type of reaction in any of the world’s huge religions.

Perhaps because I grew up in the Mormon Church, I could totally see that type of reaction, the Mormon hierarchy would come unglued in their efforts to protect the sanctity of their own theology. If proof existed that nullified their Golden Plates dogma, there would be massive efforts to hide it.

Is the character arrogant? Yep, I think he is, but he’s also a complex character facing a terminal illness in his baby. The baby he thought he should never have, in the marriage he thought he shouldn’t have. The man lost his whole family and finally risked it again, only to have his new family threatened. And I found his reaction pretty real. I think a lot of men would immerse themselves in their work, guilty about leaving so much of the burden on their wives for the care of the sick baby. Many men are “fixers” and “do-ers” and when faced with a problem that is un-fixable, just don’t know how to behave.

I didn’t see this as an anti-religion screed at all. I thought the end of the novel pretty much left it up to the reader. Science or religious mysticism? It was up to each of us to decide. Which I thought was refreshingly open-minded of this doctor/writer.

Thanks for your input, anonymous…its been fun!