Chiropractors are famous for being against COVID vaccinations and other protective measures. This recent case is an apt example.
It has been reported that the tribunal of Alberta’s regulatory body for chiropractors has ruled against Calgary chiropractor, Curtis Wall, for not wearing a mask during the pandemic. The College of Chiropractors of Alberta (CCA) sought to discipline Wall for not wearing a mask at his clinic, not observing two meters of social distancing while unmasked, not installing a plexiglass barrier in his reception area, and not requiring patients to be masked either, beginning around June 2020. In a statement issued Feb. 1, 2023, the CCA’s hearing tribunal wrote: “[T]he Hearing Tribunal has found Dr. Curtis Wall’s conduct does constitute ‘unprofessional conduct’ and their decision for penalty is forthcoming.”
Lawyer James Kitchen who represented Wall, railed against the ruling: “[T]he decision is riddled with errors of fact and law and is so poorly decided it is an embarrassment to the chiropractic profession. It is shocking the lengths the tribunal went to dismiss the evidence of Dr. Wall, three of his patients, and his four expert witnesses while blithely accepting all the evidence of the College…The decision is an egregious manifestation of pre-determined, results-oriented decision-making.”
In an interview, Kitchen said: “I set this whole case up knowing that the tribunal would likely do whatever the college and the college’s expert told him to do. I set the case up such that if the tribunal did that, they would have to make themselves look very foolish to do so. If I’m really putting my cynical hat on, I don’t know if there’s anything that surprises me, really. It should shock me the degree to which they twisted the evidence, left out the evidence. The only thing that surprises me a little bit is the lack of effort they put in to hide their bias.”
The communications manager of the CCA, Dana Myckan, commented: “Pursuant to the Health Professions Act, all Hearing Tribunal decisions are posted publicly on the CCA website. This is the extent of the information that the CCA can share on behalf of the Hearing Tribunal.”
The ruling noted that Wall initially wore a mask, but in June 2020, he “self-diagnosed as having an anxiety disorder. He believed that his self-diagnosis qualified him for a medical exemption from wearing a mask. As a result, he stopped wearing a mask when treating patients.” It added that Wall never contacted the college to let it know his condition or request an exemption, and said Wall’s son also worked at the clinic and did not wear a mask.
Kitchen said Wall could face a suspension of his practice but will appeal this ruling or any attempt to make him pay the CCA’s legal costs, which the college stated during the hearings were in excess of $200,000. Kitchen said a recent court precedent suggests the CCA will be unable to recoup costs in a ruling.
An appeal would be heard by the council of the college, which is the college’s governing body. It consists of five chiropractors elected by their peers along with five members of the public appointed by the government. Should Wall lose there, he could take his case to the Alberta Court of Appeal. Kitchen said Wall will go the distance. “I warned them that this is how I expected it to go. So he was prepared,” Kitchen said. “He’s still pretty dismayed that people could have this much evidence staring them in the face and just ignore it and follow the narrative. It’s hard for him. He’s an idealist. He’s really big on truth and people doing what’s right.”
To all of this, I have but two questions:
- Is the CCA not also guilty of professional misconduct for calling Wall “Dr. Wall” without making it clear that he is not medically trained?
- If Wall is “big on truth”, how come he works as a chiropractor?