We have often asked whether the General Chiropractic Council (GCC) is fit for purpose. A recent case bought before the Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) of the GCC provides further food for thought.

The male chiropractor in question admitted to the PCC that:

  • he had requested the younger female patient remove her clothing to her underwear for the purposes of examination;
  • he then treated the area near her vagina and groin with a vibrating tool;
  • that he also treated the area around her breasts.

After the appointment, which the patient had originally booked for a problem with her neck, the patient reflected on the treatment and eventually complained about the chiropractor to the GCC. The PCC considered the case and did not find unprofessional conduct in the actions and conduct of the chiropractor. His the diagnosis and treatment were both found to be clinically justified.

According to the GCC, the lesson from this case is that the complaint to the GCC may have been avoided if the chiropractor had been more alert to the need to ensure he communicated effectively so that the patient was clear as to why the intimate areas were being treated and, on that basis, given informed consent. Patients often feel vulnerable before, during and after treatment; and this effect is magnified when the patient is unclothed, new to chiropractic treatment or the work of a particular chiropractor, or they are being treated in an intimate area. Chiropractors can reduce this feeling of vulnerability by offering a chaperone and gown (and recording a note of the patient’s response) as well as taking the time to ensure you have fully explained the procedure to them and obtained informed consentStandard D4 of the GCC Code states registrants must “Consider the need, during assessments and care, for another person to be present to act as a chaperone; particularly if the assessment or care might be considered intimate or where the patient is a child or a vulnerable adult.”

Excuse me?

I find this unbelievably gross and grossly unbelievable!

It begs, I think, the following questions:

  • What condition requires treatment with a ‘vibrating tool’ near the vagina (I assume they mean vulva)?
  • What condition requires treatment with a ‘vibrating tool’ around the breasts?
  • Is there any reliable evidence?
  • Was informed consent obtained?
  • What precisely did it entail?

About 15 years ago, I was an expert witness in a very similar UK case. The defendant was sent to prison for two years. The GCC is really not fit for purpose. It seems to consistently defend chiropractors rather than do its duty and defend their patients.

My advice to the above-mentioned patient is not to bother with the evidently useless GCC but to initiale criminal proceedings.

21 Responses to The UK General Chiropractic Council (yet again) protects the chiro rather than the patient

  • In my opinion, this is an obvious case of sexual harassment and should be prosecuted. The patient should file a complaint with the police.

  • How was the actual treatment justified? Does the public have access to the judgment?

  • the formerly frequent commentator ‘DC’ just commented on ‘X’ about this post:

    Replying to

    and 2 others
    So, no pertinent details of the case are provided but you think criminal proceedings should take place?

    • Hmm…using a vibrating tool on erogenous zones far away from the area of pain seems like sexual assault to me. Perhaps authorities should take a clue from this incident: and wait 15 years before starting criminal proceedings on this fellow.

      Good to know DC is alive and cracking.

      • there is a long threat on ‘X’ of ‘DC’ entertaining me with his opinion on the case:

        • Without a account on X I can only see one of his hilarious comments. But if I have to guess, the thread is full of red herrings, cherry pickings, whataboutism and some victim blaming for good measure. I wonder if our good friend is vying for a position on GCC. 🤔

          • no, he is American

          • here is the thread:

            Edzard Ernst
            I don’t need a full history to know that a vibrating tool near a patient’s vagina and breasts is wrong.
            If you disagree, please name me just ONE instance where this is indicated.
            YOU CAN’T?
            THEN SHUT UP!
            Near? What’s considered near according to the patient?
            Edzard Ernst
            he treated the area near her vagina and groin with a vibrating tool; he also treated the area around her breasts.

            near tells me very little.

            Pick a chest muscle, it’s “near the breast”
            For the groin area…what’s the history? Was she recently in a MVA? Oh, you don’t know the history. In fact, you know very little at all about this case.

            “Automotive side impacts are a leading cause of injuries to the pubic symphysis…”

            J Biomech. 2007;40(12):2758-66
            Edzard Ernst
            “Automotive side impacts are a leading cause of injuries to the pubic symphysis…” J Biomech. 2007;40(12):2758-66

            Was MVA in her history? Oh, you don’t know.

            A recent fall in her history? Oh, you don’t know.

            Edzard Ernst
            Let’s assume all of this.
            I still see no indication for a vibrating tool next to the vagina and breasts.

            As you can’t name one either, I recommend (again) you shut up in order not to be ridiculously ridiculous.
            Ernst can’t think of a reason so the police should be called.

            History? He doesn’t know but call the police.

            Exam findings? He doesn’t know but call the police.

            GCC did an investigation of which the details he doesn’t know but call the police.

            Go back to your little blog

          • As usual, he twisted himself into a pretzel to avoid answering your initial question…LOL.

            Thanks for sharing the hilarious thread, Professor.

          • Yes, it seems his trolling technique hasn’t changed – define ‘near’, define ‘vibrating ‘, define ‘tool’
            I wonder why he does it – if he’s a genuine chiro, surely it’s not a good look to putative patients.

          • Talker: define ‘near’, define ‘vibrating‘, define ‘tool’

            She had a secondary complaint of hip pain; he was addressing the hip region with a hand held massager. So yes, the hip region is “near” the groin area and there can be a sense of vibration that may travel to other regions.

            Facts matter, well, to some of us.


          • the report said ‘Vagina’ and ‘Breast’!

          • Talker: define ‘near’, define ‘vibrating‘, define ‘tool’


            You are confused as to who said those words. Perhaps you are better off removing those chiro blinkers before commenting on this “little” blog you cant seem to quit even if you wanted to. Not too long ago, didn’t you say you weren’t going to comment on here anymore? 🤣🤣

            GCC and similar organizations almost always side with chrios, except in the most egregious circumstances. If the patient feels violated, they have every right to file a formal complaint with the law enforcement. If the chiro is innocent like you say he is, facts will come out and he will be exonerated.

          • Taker. I was informed that Ernst posted a part of a conversation that included my comments. Thus I elected to see what was shared and any comments that followed.

            I also have a contact who is familiar with the details of this case thus I offered some insight on the “near” and a few other details.

            One of the patients complaints was “hip pain” which the chiropractor was addressing during the visit.

            There are some muscles that act on the hip that are near the groin and vagina.

            There are chest muscles that are around the breasts that can be involved with “neck pain”.

            As I commented on X, if the patient wishes to consider additional action I mentioned she first contact a lawyer and have the lawyer review the GCC report and the reasons for their ruling.

            I hope that clarifies a few items.

            Take care.

          • “I also have a contact who is familiar with the details of this case thus I offered some insight on the “near” and a few other details. One of the patients complaints was “hip pain” which the chiropractor was addressing during the visit.”
            This is just as valid as when I say that I know the patient and she had no hip pain and feels she was sexually assaulted by the chiro.

          • DC, We are excited and flattered that you took time from your busy day to comment on this “little” blog. Thank you for stopping by to set the record straight with “facts” you heard on the grape vine. Xitter is calling your name. I heard tweets aren’t going to write themselves.

  • There are perverts and abusers in all walks of life – presumably on the GCC too , titillated by this complaint and perhaps keen to allow a colleague to continue their abuse. The Catholic Church knowingly let it’s members abuse (sexually) people too- perhaps this is associated with having a fervent belief in something with no evidence to support it whatsoever?

  • No doubt this “treatment” will cause this poor individual a lifetime of horrendous memories and cascading emotional trauma. Still…at least he didn’t twist her neck. Or did he?

    The victims of Chiropractic continue to mount up. Truly this snake oil selling group need to take a good hard look at what they are doing to our health care system. ( I see we also now have to worry about our pets with these guys. Horses, dogs , etc. All are fair game for neck manipulations. ) Unbelievable is right! Sigh.

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