Dynamic Chiropractic – February 28, 1992, Vol. 10, Issue 05

"Gorilla Chiropractic"

By Richard Tyler, DC
In this almost mystical world of chiropractic with its pitchmen, salesmen, con artists, patient scams, rip-offs, pseudoreligious nuts, and frustrated MDs, there's always something to write about.
Fortunately, the preceding are not the majority (although it sometimes seems that way) and represent a small but unfortunately vociferous group on the fringes of professional reality.

The worst elements within chiropractic are those entrepreneurs who blatantly and aggressively appeal to that streak of greed that is within all humans to some degree. Often the appeal begins slowly -- like a train starting from the station. As this train picks up speed its true purpose is revealed -- greedagreed -- greedagreed -- greedagreed -- greedagreed. Oh sure, "The more patients you see, the more people you help." However, when "seeing the patient" becomes a visual blip on your practice schedule, then the patient visit becomes not only a rip-off but a dangerous one. Remember, chiropractic grants a first professional degree to men and women who are supposed to be primary health care providers. This means that a DC might be the first doctor the patient will see. Their health is figuratively and literally in your hands. This is an awesome responsibility that's too often sacrificed on the pages of an appointment book.

Recently, I received a flyer that hit a new high in madness and a new low in class. Just when you think that the greed level has been saturated, along comes this piece of trash. The entrepreneur of this new scheme brags about his "passion for volume." Not, mind you, his passion for helping his patients -- only volume. And let's not play word games -- the more people you see each day the less time you have to spend with each individual. Quality suffers as quantity grows.

This doesn't mean that we have to see three patients a day and starve, but it certainly means more time than some nut bragging about seeing as many as 1,400 patients a week.

My fertile imagination conjured up an imaginary visit to the Gorilla Chiropractic Office where guerrilla tactics are used to get the patients.

RHT: Wait a minute! What are you doing?

CA I: You were walking past this office which means that you're in our territory. You belong to us. Bruno, help me with this guy, he's fighting.

RHT: Don't come near me Bruno or I'll ...

Bruno: Be nice to Bruno or he'll break your arm.

RHT: Stop! No -- no. Owww. Okay, okay.

CA I: Now just come along quietly if you know what's good for you.

CA II: All right, bring him over here. And get back on the street. It's already nine in the morning and we've only got 324 patients so far. Are all the phones working? Have the "shock CAs" been making the threatening calls and sending out the threatening notices?

CA I: Right, Master CA, and I'm on my way back to the sidewalk now. Already I've seen four people walk by without being verbally and physically assaulted.

CA II: Right. And remember -- up the gross! Now you.

RHT: M-m-me?

CA II: Right stupid. You're in for 67 visits.

RHT: For what?

CA II: Wadayamean for what? Because I said so. You fought coming in here which means you're mentally deranged, which means your atlas is subluxed.

RHT: But why 67 visits?

CA II: Only someone with leprosy would ask so many questions which ups it to 152 patient visits.

RHT: Leprosy?

CA II: Yeah, and multiple sclerosis.

RHT: MS? But how can you tell?

CA II: Only those who doubt have brain tumors. That's 541 visits you need. Now get outta here. The holding pen is beginning to get full.

RHT: What do I do now?

CA II: Take off your clothes and take this.

RHT: What's this piece of paper?

CA II: Your will -- you're leaving everything to us. Now jump on that conveyor belt and shut up.

RHT: Golly -- you're so masterful when you get excited.

CA II: Yeah I know -- now get on the belt.

RHT: Do I see the doctor now for an adjustment?

CA II: Yeah, yeah, now get on the belt before you miss your place. Miss your place and it costs you double.

Jumping on the conveyor belt I'm whisked at roller coaster speed past machines that thump and pound on my bruised body. Before I know it I'm on the street half clothed clutching a bill and a copy of my will with a signature I don't recognize.

Crazy? Not if such scams are allowed to continue. The moronic financial Rambos might blow chiropractic right out of existence. Unless -- unless, of course, the majority of the profession decides that enough is enough and lets such "guerrilla" schemes self-destruct. Trust me, it's far more rewarding in the long run to spend your day trying to help your patients than financially rape them. And these are the choices folks -- you can't have it both ways.



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