MD, PhD, MAE, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

The World Federation of Chiropractic (WFC) has recently launched a new Global Patient Safety (GPS) initiative:

Unanimously approved by the WFC Board at its May meeting, the project will be overseen by the Research Committee and involve the establishment of an expert task force. Planned projects will include a scoping review, identification of best practices in incident reporting and learning, risk management in chiropractic practice and knowledge translation activities.

In recent years, patient safety has increasingly been in the spotlight as health systems strive to reduce unnecessary incidents and iatrogenic injury.

“With adverse events having the potential to impact trust and confidence in the chiropractic profession, it is important that we do as much as possible to inform ourselves in relation to the risks and benefits of chiropractic treatments and related activities,” said Prof. Richard Brown DC, LL.M, WFC Secretary- General.

“While we know that serious adverse events are rare, patients with multiple co-morbidities and known risk factors require special attention. The WFC GPS Task Force will highlight key areas of patient safety to support chiropractors, build and strengthen the existing safety culture and help to meet the expectations of patients and the public.”

Chiropractors use a package of interventions in their treatment of patients, including hands-on care, adjunct therapies, health promotion, advice and exercise prescription. The process of shared decision-making involves consideration by the chiropractor of the suitability and safety of each intervention. In addition to direct patient care, chiropractors also have a duty to consider the safety of their offices and clinics.

A WHO resolution on patient safety, passed in 2019 at the World Health Assembly, made a commitment to take global action in tackling avoidable harm.

Its subsequent publication, Global Action on Patient Safety, set out goals and targets to reduce morbidity from healthcare related incidents.

Chair of the Task Force and Research Committee vice-chair, Dr Katie Pohlman DC, PhD, said: “With the current global focus on patient safety, I’m proud to be leading this WFC Task Force, which will support the chiropractic profession but, most importantly, work to minimize adverse events and protect patients.

“The creation of an open, transparent culture of patient safety is key to maintaining trust and credibility. The Task Force is looking forward to adding to the body of knowledge and advancing safe, evidence-based, people-centered practice.”

The WFC GPS Task Force will report to Research Committee Chair, Assoc. Prof Sidney Rubinstein. It will include members of the existing Research Committee as well as external experts.

____________________________

At first, most people will think: WHAT A GOOD IDEA!

After a bit of reflection, however, some might ponder: WHY ONLY NOW AND NOT DECADES AGO?

And after reading the above text carefully, skeptics might feel that the exercise can already be classified as a PR gimmick that will not generate the needed information:

  • The WFC has yet again failed to establish a monitoring system of adverse effects; without it ‘patient safety’ is not achievable.
  • They claim that “we know that serious adverse events are rare”. How do they know this? And if they already are convinced of this, the new task force is bound to be a pure ‘white wash’.
  • They think an “existing safety culture” exists in chiropractic. This is wishful thinking and far from reality.
  • They speak of the “expectations of patients and the public” but ignore the need for a monitoring system accessible to the public.

47 Responses to The ‘GLOBAL PATIENT SAFETY TASK FORCE’ of the World Federation of Chiropractic

  • Looks like yet just another veiled attempt at prettying things up in the world of Chiropractic nonsense.

    I’d like to see this “new expert taskforce” implement or mandate having a large hanging picture of a Chiropractic Stroke Victim, depicting in living color and showing on full display, the graphic horror and exactly what can and does happen in these “rare” events, when an upper neck manipulation goes bad.

    The Global Patient Safety Mask Force.

    You can put lipstick on a pig…but it’s still a pig.

    • And have this posted Chiro victim picture hanging eye level, located in full public view directly above Chiropractic reception areas and on all front entry doors.

      Might also make sense to list ALL the various injuries, risks and possible different stroke outcomes, in large bold print beneath the picture of a Chiropractic victim. (I know we have some especially vivid pics of Sandy that we would be happy to share if the Chiro Task Force wanted a model)

      Much like boldly showing people the risks and effects of smoking on cigarette packages, it may have some positive results in the long run and certainly save lives.

  • “The WFC GPS Task Force will highlight key areas of patient safety to support chiropractors,…”

    Which reminds me of:

    Q: What are the principal functions of the spine?

    A:
    • To support the head
    • To support the ribs
    • To support the chiropractor.

    — B. J. Palmer, DC, Answers (1952)

    • “To support the chiropractor!” LOL!

      Thank you, Pete, for sharing this quote from Palmer. I had never seen this before.

      Kinda says it all.

    • Wowsa Pete….their founder Palmer actually said this? LOL!

      • BJ was not the founder.

      • B. J. Palmer became known as the “developer” of chiropractic.

        Bartlett Joshua Palmer (September 14, 1882 – May 27, 1961) was an American chiropractor. He was the son of Daniel David Palmer (D. D.), the founder of chiropractic, and became known as the “Developer” of chiropractic.

        B.J. Palmer ran his research clinics in Davenport for 16 years and eventually became convinced that upper cervical spine was the key to health. He modified the Palmer School of Chiropractic curriculum to reflect his new ideas. Palmer was an advocate for the use of the Neurocalometer and X-ray machines.” [my bolding]
        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/B._J._Palmer

        What is the Neurocalometer? See:
        1. How the Nervo-Scope and Similar Heat-Detection Devices Are Used to Sell Unnecessary Chiropractic Treatment
        Stephen Barrett, M.D.
        May 18, 2008
        https://quackwatch.org/chiropractic/dd/nervoscope/

        2. Chiropractic has always been mainly about money: the intriguing story of the ‘Neurocalometer’
        Published Saturday 15 February 2020
        https://edzardernst.com/2020/02/chiropractic-has-always-been-mainly-about-money-the-intriguing-story-of-the-neurocalometer/

        3. The illustrations here are ‘interesting’:
        https://edl-inc.com/nervo-scope/

        The following article sheds light on B. J. Palmer and it is well worth reading in its entirety:

        B.J. Palmer, Chiropractor
        F.F. Farnsworth
        January 2, 1921
        https://quackwatch.org/chiropractic/hx/b-j-palmer-chiropractor/

        Being in Washington, D.C., and learning that B.J. Palmer, discoverer, inventor and founder of the Chiropractic method of spinal adjustment, was lecturing at the Raleigh hotel, I went to hear him. My object was partly to satisfy myself as to the real teachings of the ” fountain head,” supplemented by a curiosity as to what he actually looked like. I, of course, felt a certain amount of prejudice against him but was prepared to give him the, benefit of whatever argument he could produce, and credit for any facts he might establish.

        His personal appearance and acts disappointed me. I supposed he would at least appear as a scholar and a man of dignity, but I found him garbed as a showman and with the unshaved face and long black hair of the seer or prophet for which he doubtless aimed to pose. I expected at least, a dignified explanation of some scientific facts to prove his contentions, but found him railing and ranting and even abusing the medical profession and everybody and everything else except his own creed. I will, therefore, for the purpose. of better analysis, take up some of his statements exactly as he made them and as written down by me at the time.

        ”All diseases which have been in existence since the building of the pyramids are still in existence, not a single progressive step has ever been taken to cure or check them.” “More disease exists now than ever before, more in proportion are dying until actually today more people are dying than are being born.” Of course, these statements are so flagrantly untrue that a sensible person can hardly have patience to answer them. He overlooks the fact that yellow fever is a matter of history, malaria almost so, and leprosy now being controlled and cured; he has forgotten that where smallpox and typhoid once claimed their hundreds of thousands, they now claim only their dozens. He overlooks the fact that the average length of life has been increased ten years,…

        His next statements were: ”All medical methods and works are entirely wrong.” “I don’t know anything about anatomy. I never dissected a body. The ‘only reason for anatomy is to have an excuse for dissection, and the only reason for dissection is to know how to do surgery.” He then entered into a long abuse of surgeons, saying he knew nothing about surgery and was proud of it. He said: “Laboratories are fakes. No disease was ever diagnosed in a laboratory. They make the man fit the thing they want to call disease.: ‘There is no such thing as bacteriology, Microscopes are instruments of duplicity. How can they see germs when they do not exist? Pathology is only physiology gone wrong and they, they, the doctors, can’t help it.” He went on to say: “There has never been a single germ discovered that has ever caused a single disease.” “Chemistry is not worth a damn, it is of no value. I would not give a cent for all the chemistry in the world. I don’t know a solitary thing about chemistry and if I did I would forget it and wash it out.”

        All the above statements are very remarkable, at least, when coming from a man who vehemently declared that he knew nothing about any of them. His next statement was: ” Diagnosis is all guess work.” “My analysis is better than uranalysis.” “The laboratory works with the dead and finds just what he wants to.” “If you follow books you won’t get very far. I don’t read books. Books are ‘written for people who don’t think and are written ·by people who don’t or can’t think. I sometimes write books. I never saw or heard of an English scholar who wrote anything worth reading.” “I don’t know anything about grammar and have just sense enough to know it.” “Books tell us that germs cause disease, and that we could not live an instant with a single germ in us.” At this stage he vilified doctors, scholars, scientists, etc., for a while and then said, ” I am right and you being wrong don’t know it. There is no such disease as cancer or tuberculosis…

        “Nothing in medicine is sticking tight. It is changing every year. We chiropractors have not made a single change in a finding or deduction for 25 years. Subluxation—Books say it can’t be done. Doctors say it can’t be done, they know nothing except what they read in books. We chiropractors began to study and found out. Tell me where you are affected and I will tell you what nerve causes it and all about it. We found out these things and then worked out a system of adjustment, so if a fellow has anything wrong with him we just put him on a table and adjust him. Books tell something about a sympathetic nervous system and a lot of rot like that. They got it all in a laboratory. The doctor spends years in college and learns a million things and not one of them is so. I never went to college; I don’t know anything about what’s in books. I only know that we adjust backbones and it works. I guess it must be so. I don’t know anything except that we get results. I just know it works and we get pay for it. I don’t know anything about the nervous system.”

        • Thanks for the clarification, Pete.
          Looks like the Apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

          I am not sure who to blame more for this continued deceptional practice called Chiropractic…the father Daniel David Palmer or his infamous son “B.S”. Palmer?

          • @ David Nette

            I’d say his son, here’s why:

            QUOTE
            “In 1901 D. D. Palmer scuttled the Chiropractic ship; gave it up as a profession; left it in disgrace in Davenport. B. J. Palmer assumed the remnants, although ‘only a boy’—18 to be exact—took the scraps and debts left behind by the elder and reconstructed a business upon the ruins. Upon application, two years later, D.D. was taken into the successful business of B.J. Palmer. He returned penniless, in debt and goods mortgaged. B.J. gave half of all he had, paid his debts and cleaned the mortgage.”

            Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk%3ADaniel_David_Palmer%2FArchive_1

        • The following sheds even more light on B.J. Palmer:

          Firstly, a brief browse through this link https://tinyurl.com/5dtkyx6e is all anyone needs in order to understand that he was a charlatan, a chancer, and a ruthless businessman who came from a wholly unsavoury background.

          In 1910, he testified that, at the age of 11, that he had been “kicked from home, forced to make a living” (State of Wisconsin vs. S.R. Jansheki, December 1910).

          He spent years as a vagrant, living largely by hustling on the streets, and slept in dry-goods boxes, hotel kitchens, pool halls, etc. He was permanently expelled from school in the 7th grade, did jail time for petty thievery, and was well-acquainted with the red-light district of town. (Magner, G. Chiropractic: The Victim’s Perspective).

          In the preface to one of BJ’s books, a dean of Palmer College wrote, “The first 20 years of this boy’s life were spent in being educated to hate people and everything they did or were connected with”. (Hender H. Preface. In Palmer BJ. The Bigness of the Fellow Within. Davenport. IA: Palmer School of Chiropractic, 1949)

          R.C. Schafer DC, a former director of public affairs for the American Chiropractic Association, reported that as a self-proclaimed ‘keeper of the flame’ BJ was suffocating and ruthless to anyone who dared oppose him, and he remembered him as a bigot and an outlandishly vulgar person. Apparently it was common knowledge that BJ openly supported Hitler in the 1930s (Schafer RC. The imbroglio of the professional greyhound. Dynamic Chiropractic 9(17)10, 1991.) and, like his father, BJ was afflicted by megalomania.

          His book titles revealed an enormous ego and he made many sweeping pronouncements about the nature of health, disease and the human body. His ignorance and ego also combined to discover a ‘duct of Palmer connecting the spleen with the stomach’ ( https://tinyurl.com/y4kmfkgg ).

          During his pre-chiropractic years he worked with a mesmerist and in a circus – both of which may have honed his showmanship and salesmanship. From the beginning, BJ did everything possible to distance chiropractic from medicine and osteopathy. His views came to dominate the profession and he greatly expanded chiropractic’s metaphysical basis, which constituted a major part of chiropractic education. He described chiropractic as a ‘health serve-us’ (Palmer BJ. Selling Yourself. Davenport, IA: Palmer College Press, 1921)

          BJ also claimed “I do nothing. It is Innate that does the work’ (Bach, M The Chiropractic Sotr. Austell, GA: Si-Nel Publishing & Sales Co., 1968)

          On page 424 of his book ‘Answers’ (1952), BJ refers to Innate as the ‘other fellow’, or the ‘fellow within’, and the real originator of chiropractic.

          And, finally, in his book, ‘The Bigness of the Fellow Within’ (1949), he states that “Innate…has been building and running millions of bodies for millions of years” and he exhorted all chiropractors to harness this divine power. He also stated: “One spark of Innate is greater than all the education, books, and libraries of man”.

          • Wow Blue Wode!
            Thank you so much for sharing more light on the history and exposing the very roots of Chiropractic.

            The house is built on sand. I’m waiting for the tide to come in.

          • Thanks for your additions, Blue Wode.

          • It seems only a minority of chiropractors today adhere to such historical views.

            “…56.8% were spine/neuromusculoskeletal focused; 22.0% were primary care focused; and 21.2% were vertebral subluxation focused.’

            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8491397/

          • It seems only a minority of chiropractors today adhere to such historical views.

            “…56.8% were spine/neuromusculoskeletal focused; 22.0% were primary care focused; and 21.2% were vertebral subluxation focused.”
            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8491397/

            From the same source:
            (Survey item #1) In the examination and assessment of a patient’s condition, do you perform
             9.0% only perform spinal analysis to assess for presence of vertebral subluxation.

             7.7% only perform differential diagnosis.

             3.2% usually perform spinal analysis to assess for presence of vertebral subluxation, sometimes perform differential diagnosis.

             1.6% usually perform differential diagnosis, sometimes perform spinal analysis to assess for presence of vertebral subluxation.

            78.5%always perform spinal analysis to assess for presence of vertebral subluxation and differential diagnosis. [my bolding]

          • Wowsa Pete…I do believe that would be called a slam dunk!
            Thanks for posting!

          • One might be tempted to assume that chiropractors who (Survey item #1) “only perform spinal analysis to assess for presence of vertebral subluxation” belong to the (21.2%) subgroup who are vertebral subluxation focused. However,

            70% belong to the vertebral subluxation focused subgroup.

            20% belong to the spine and neuromusculoskeletal focused subgroup.

            10% belong to the primary care focused subgroup.

          • yep, the majority of chiropractors check out the spine because…wait for it…most people come in due to back/neck pain.

          • “yep, the majority of chiropractors check out the spine…”
            Pathetic attempt at distraction.

            (Survey item #5) Vaccinations have had a positive effect on global public health
            12% strongly agree
            28% agree
            22% neutral
            20% disagree
            18% strongly disagree

            Of those who strongly agree that vaccinations have had a positive effect on global public health:
             0% belong to the vertebral subluxation focused subgroup.

            90% belong to the spine and neuromusculoskeletal focused subgroup.

            10% belong to the primary care focused subgroup. [only 10%❗️]

            Of those who strongly disagree that vaccinations have had a positive effect on global public health:
            50% belong to the vertebral subluxation focused subgroup.

            25% belong to the spine and neuromusculoskeletal focused subgroup.

            25% belong to the primary care focused subgroup. [❗️]

          • So a minority disagree with vaccinations having a “positive effect on global public health” and they mainly belong to the traditionalist group.

            Supports my statement.

          • “So a minority disagree with vaccinations having a ‘positive effect on global public health’ and they mainly belong to the traditionalist group. Supports my statement.”

            LOL!

            The majority of chiropractors (60%) do not agree or strongly agree with the statement “vaccinations have had a positive effect on global public health”. Thanks for bringing to our attention this utterly disgraceful fact.

            Perhaps these 60% of chiropractors “mainly belong to the traditionalist group”, which has only 21.2% of the chiropractors 🤣

          • The 22% that were neutral are non-traditionalist because…wait for it…DD Palmer was not neutral on the topic.

          • chiro‑troll’s comments have become too stupid to be worthy of replies.

            For readers who are interested:
            • the study data I’ve been presenting is in Appendix 1 at
            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8491397/bin/12913_2021_7081_MOESM1_ESM.docx

            • this study was the topic of Edzard’s blog post
            Beliefs and behaviors of US chiropractors
            Published Friday 08 October 2021
            https://edzardernst.com/2021/10/beliefs-and-behaviors-of-us-chiropractors/

          • “chiro‑troll’s comments have become too stupid to be worthy of replies.”
            I tend to agree.

          • “chiro‑troll’s comments have become too stupid to be worthy of replies.”

            Good, as I am growing weary of correcting you.

          • I’m growing “weary” of the word salad and constant side stepping. Given all the evidence and victims of Chiropractic, let’s get back to addressing the real dangers of NEEDLESS rapid neck twisting.

            In this day and age of modern medicine it still boggles my mind that we as a society would allow such a barbaric and needless act to continue.

            Hats off to the small percentage of thinking Chiros out there who have ceased to use this ridiculous neck twisting technique in their quiver of tools and have opted for a saner and scientific approach to helping people.

            Unfortunately, common sense is not so common.

  • They speak of the “expectations of patients and the public” but ignore the need for a monitoring system accessible to the public.

    If the task force were to set up a monitoring system, do we trust chrios (in US) to report adverse events when they are absolutely incompetent at doing basic paper work: https://edzardernst.com/2023/07/the-dark-side-of-chiropractic-care/#comment-146863?

    • Unfortunately, not likely Talker.

      They seem to operate like a closed society with only internal discipline and accountability.
      And our government(s) are making way too much money on this bunch anyway to ever really lay the hammer down on regulations, etc.

      Sadly, those seriously injured by Chiropractors are deemed collateral damage for the trade in my opinion. Injuries are just part of the costs of doing business on virtually every strip mall in North America.

      Hence you raise a good point, but I still think a picture is worth a thousand words Talker.
      Our offer stands.

      • Don’t leave out gyms.

        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10387331/

        “In this case, a 28-year-old male with a non-significant past medical history who recently started a CrossFit boot camp presented to the emergency department with right-sided neck pain, dysarthria, mild right gaze paresis, right dysmetria, and right facial droop with symptoms of Horner’s syndrome. Imaging results revealed an age-indeterminate left lateral cerebellar infarct with right VAD.”

        Of course if he had went to a chiropractor within the past month the chiropractor would have been blamed for causing the VAD.

        • Not many people on this blog are interested in buying red herrings and straw men. Yet, you can’t seem to stop offering them.

          • You Nailed It Talker!
            It’s all about diversion with these guys.

            Strawmen and Red Herrings indeed.

          • Oh, I’m more than willing to discuss the The World Federation of Chiropractic launching a new Global Patient Safety initiative. But others wanted to divert to unrelated or unrealistic topics.

            Whatever.

    • So, they need to address the documentation issue before they get involved in an adverse reporting system? Interesting perspective.

  • Good point Talker!
    More smoke and mirrors by the looks of things.

  • There are benefits and limitations of such systems.

    https://www.fda.gov/drugs/questions-and-answers-fdas-adverse-event-reporting-system-faers/fda-adverse-event-reporting-system-faers-public-dashboard

    This does not mean that the drug or biologic caused the adverse event

    Data by themselves are not an indicator of the safety profile of the drug or biologic

    Duplicate and incomplete reports are in the system

    Existence of a report does not establish causation

    Information in reports has not been verified

    Rates of occurrence cannot be established with reports

    What it can do is:

    https://www.fda.gov/drugs/surveillance/questions-and-answers-fdas-adverse-event-reporting-system-faers

    If a potential safety concern is identified in FAERS, further evaluation is performed.

    • I’d like for these Chiropractors who still twist necks, to bring their statistics, reports and occurrence numbers, and spend a day caring for my injured wife.

      If the TRUTH makes you uncomfortable, don’t blame the truth, blame the lie, that made you comfortable.”

  • “Chair of the Task Force and Research Committee vice-chair, Dr Katie Pohlman DC, PhD…”

    I was interested to learn about this person and their research…

    Katherine A. Pohlman, DC, MS, PhD, Director of Research at Parker University [Parker College of Chiropractic (1982-2011)], Dallas, Texas; and an inaugural fellow of the Chiropractic Academy of Research and Leadership (CARL) program.

    Here’s the PubMed search I used:
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/?term=Pohlman+KA&cauthor_id=32863058

    She’s certainly not shy when it comes to putting her name on papers that might ruffle a few feathers. E.g. [my formatting for clarity]

    Pohlman KA, Carroll L, Tsuyuki RT, Hartling L, Vohra S.
    Comparison of active versus passive surveillance adverse event reporting in a paediatric ambulatory chiropractic care setting: a cluster randomised controlled trial.
    BMJ Open Qual. 2020 Nov;9(4):e000972.
    DOI: 10.1136/bmjoq-2020-000972
    PMID: 33203708
    PMCID: PMC7674099

    Ninety-six chiropractors agreed to participate and enrolled in the study: 34 chiropractors in active surveillance with 1894 patient visits from 1179 unique patients and 35 chiropractors in passive surveillance with 1992 patient visits from 1363 unique patients.

    In the active arm, AEs were reported in 8.8% (n=140, 95% CI 6.72% to 11.18%) of patients/caregivers, compared with 0.1% (n=2, 95% CI 0.02% to 0.53%) in the passive arm (p<0.001).

    [Yes, that's 70 times as many in the active arm.]

    Of these AE reports, 76 (56.3%) events were mild; 35 (25.9%) events were moderate and 24 events (17.8%) were severe.

    Active surveillance has also been successfully implemented to study the safety of complementary therapies in ambulatory settings. For example, when an active surveillance system was used to measure AEs in 2.2 million acupuncture treatments, 8.6% of the patients reported at least one adverse effect.

    When active surveillance was implemented for adults receiving cervical spinal manipulation therapy, differences were found between patient-reported and chiropractor-reported events (680 vs 1 AE per 10000 treatment consultations).

    [Good grief!]

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