A Lawrence chiropractor’s recent messaging in response to the coronavirus is “disturbing,” an area physician says, labeling the chiropractor’s advertising as “reckless” and a danger to the community.
Amelia Rodrock, of Rodrock Chiropractic, has disseminated information on her business’ Facebook page telling the public to see a chiropractor to increase one’s chances of survival from coronavirus, as well as inviting people to come speak to her even if they are worried they or their family could be getting sick.
In light of the current pandemic, “It’s hard for me to say nothing,” said Ryan Neuhofel, a family physician who reached out to the Journal-World with his concerns.
On March 13, Rodrock shared a post on Facebook about the 1918 Spanish Flu that ends with the message: “Nothing has changed with this PANDEMIC. See a CHIROPRACTOR to Increase Your Chances of Survival From Coronavirus.”
photo by: Screen Shot from Facebook page of Rodrock Chiropractic, Lawrence
And in a video posted on March 12, Rodrock cites research published by the Texas Chiropractic Association in 1978 that states that in the state of Iowa, one out of every 15 people who went to a medical doctor during the 1918 Spanish Flu died — “So that’s a pretty high number,” she says.
For people who went to chiropractors, one in 789 people died — “So that is a lot less people,” she says.
On Thursday, the Kansas Chiropractic Association said it had heard of some complaints about chiropractic advertisements, although the group did not mention Rodrock specifically.
“KCA has heard some complaints related to advertising. Chiropractic adjustments will not prevent infection nor cure a patient with COVID-19. Make sure the research you cite is quality information,” the organization put out in an email signed by the president, vice-president, secretary-treasurer and immediate past president.
Rodrock’s Facebook video is creating concern among other health professionals for reasons related to proper virus protocol. In the video, Rodrock states, “If you are concerned that you or your family could be getting sick or could get sick, definitely come have a chat with me. Come see me in my office. Let’s talk about what chiropractic care could do for you and your family to keep you healthy.”
Neuhofel said that at his practice, they are greatly trying to reduce the number of interactions with patients, and are “certainly not bringing people in for wellness visits.”
“And so the notion of more people coming in and interacting with a provider … that to me is really disturbing,” he said.
In a phone interview with the Journal-World, Rodrock said she should not have said in the video that people should come in if they think they are sick, but rather should have told people to call her office. In a Tuesday post on the business’ Facebook page, Rodrock did note that people who aren’t feeling well should stay home.
In the video, Rodrock also notes that if one feels they need to see their medical doctor or go to a hospital “because you are struggling that much, then do. But, before you get sick you can be doing things for your immune system, and one of them is getting adjusted.”
Rodrock said the messaging in question, both the video and the March 13 Facebook post, were put out before the coronavirus pandemic had escalated to its current state in the United States. But as of Friday at noon, those posts were still up and available to the public.
In regard to the post Rodrock shared that said seeing a chiropractor will increase one’s chances of survival from coronavirus, she said she “shared a post that I probably just didn’t read all the way.”
Rodrock said she does not believe chiropractic care will increase one’s chances of surviving the coronavirus, but that she does believe it will improve one’s immune system.
Rodrock cites a March 3 article from well-known author and chiropractor Ben Lerner that she says lends credence to the idea that adjustments can boost the immune system. Neuhofel, however, said he’s not aware of any valid medical studies that come to that conclusion.
On Thursday, the Kansas Chiropractic Association sent out recommendations for procedures in chiropractic offices including screening patients, limiting the number of patients per day and preventing crowding in the office. The organization also asks chiropractors to “be careful” in the messaging and advertising they are using.
State regulators also monitor such situations. Tucker Poling, the interim executive director for the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts, the agency in charge of licensing and regulating chiropractors in Kansas, wrote in an email to the Journal-World that he was unable to comment about specific alleged conduct. He did, however, provide general information about how the organization handles issues related to allegedly false, inaccurate, or harmful public communications by licensees.
State law considers the following to be unprofessional conduct: “Solicitation of professional patronage through the use of fraudulent or false advertisements,” “advertising professional superiority or the performance of professional services in a superior manner” or “conduct likely to deceive, defraud or harm the public.”
“If the Board finds that any licensee has taken advantage of the COVID-19 crisis for personal gain in an unlawful manner, the Board will exercise its full authority to remediate such conduct, including suspension or revocation,” Poling wrote.
Rodrock said she would be reviewing the posts to her business’ Facebook wall and taking them down if she deems it appropriate. By Friday afternoon, the video had been taken down, but the March 13 post remained up. The photo from the March 13 post, which stated that seeing a chiropractor would increase one’s chances of survival from the coronavirus, was removed by Rodrock.
It was not her intention to harm the public, she said.
Editor’s Note: This article has been clarified to reflect that Rodrock removed a photo from her March 13 post which stated that seeing a chiropractor would increase one’s chances of survival from the coronavirus.
More coverage: Coronavirus (COVID-19)
As the pandemic continues, the Journal-World will be making coverage of COVID-19 available outside of the paywall on LJWorld.com.
Find all coverage of city, county and state responses to the virus at: ljworld.com/coronavirus/
What to do if you think you may have COVID-19
Patients who have symptoms — difficulty breathing, cough and fever — should stay home, immediately isolate themselves from others and call their health care providers. Patients should never show up unannounced at a medical office or hospital. Instead, they should call ahead to explain their symptoms and give health care workers the ability to minimize the risk to others.
If patients do not have health care providers, they may call the Lawrence Douglas-County health department’s coronavirus line, 785-856-4343.
For updated information on the outbreak, Kansas residents can email COVIDemail@example.com or call 866-534-3463 (866-KDHEINF), which is staffed 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday; and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
More information can be found through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s website or the Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health website.
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