A WARRNAMBOOL chiropractor has defended his profession’s competency to treat babies after doctors called for them not to perform paediatric treatments.
Dr Tim Free, from the Banyan Street Chiropractic Clinic, said chiropractic care was very safe and had achieved excellent outcomes and patient satisfaction for people of all ages, including babies.
Dr Free, who treats babies, said training in paediatric care was part of the five-year university course undertaken by chiropractors.
He said there had been a long history of tension between medical practitioners and chiropractors but he had enjoyed good co-operation with local doctors in recent years.
Dr Free was commenting on a statement by the Australian Medical Association (AMA) president Dr Steve Hambleton that the AMA “was not aware of any evidence that chiropractic manipulative treatment of infants and children offers any benefit at all’’.
Dr Hambleton said the Australian Chiropractic Board needed to either produce evidence supporting chiropractic treatments for children or rule paediatric care out of their scope of practice.
The relationship between chiropractors and doctors has been further strained by recent media reports that claimed a Melbourne infant’s neck was broken during a chiropractic adjustment that went wrong.
Melbourne paediatrician Chris Pappas said he had cared for a four-month-old baby last year after one of her vertebrae was fractured during a chiropractic treatment for torticollis — a wry neck that is usually harmless in babies.
He complained about the treatment to the Australian Health Practitioner Reg-ulation Agency (AHPRA), which referred the case to the Chiropractic Board of Australia.
However, the Chiropractors Association of Australia (CAA) said the claim that the board had found the way the chiropractor practised “is, or may be, unsatisfactory” was wrong.
AHPRA had made no finding “that any treatment performed by the chiropractor caused a fracture as alleged”, the association said.
CAA called for the newspapers to print a retraction.
The association said the newspaper reports had “smeared the chiropractor and the profession with such an allegation”.
CAA’s national president Dr Laurie Tassell said “not a single serious adverse event has been recorded in the medical literature (worldwide) involving a qualified chiropractor treating a child since 1992”.
An AHPRA spokeswoman said the chiropractic board was not able to comment on its findings because of confidentiality requirements.
In its statement on paediatric care released earlier this year, the chiropractic board said chiropractors received extensive university training, including in the care of children.