Baby treated with controversial back ‘cracking’
Melbourne chiropractor Dr Ian Rossborough has been criticised for performing a controversial technique on a four-day-old baby.
Chiropractors have been caught allegedly sneaking into Australian maternity wards to treat newborn babies, publicly flouting their own regulations.
The behaviour has been slammed by other practitioners who say they are fed up with a minority tarnishing the profession.
NSW chiropractor Grant Bond allegedly snuck into Wollongong Private Hospital to treat a three-day-old baby, claiming his touch allowed the infant to have “his first poo!”.
Chiropractor Grant Bond posted a photo on Facebook showing a newborn in a Wollongong Hospital. Photo: Supplied
A photograph posted to his clinic’s Facebook page in April shows the chiropractor with his hands on the back of the newborn held by his mother in one of the hospital’s maternity ward suites.
“It was an awesome experience checking [the baby’s] spine for the first time,” Dr Bond wrote in the post, which has since been removed. “As I gently laid my hands on his spine, without even waking, he did his first poo!”
The chief executive of Wollongong Private, David Crowe, said Dr Bond had entered the ward without the compulsory permission of the hospital or the treating doctor.
Dr Bond commented on the photograph saying the baby had ”his first poo” after he laid his hands on the infant. Photo: Supplied
Chiropractors are banned from treating patients inside a healthcare facility, without the institution’s permission.
“The chiropractor appears to have presented to the hospital as a visitor,” Mr Crowe said.
Fairfax Media has learnt a formal complaint has been made to the NSW health watchdog against Dr Bond over the matter.
Chiropractor Bianca Beaumont has since removed content from her website referring to treating newborns in hospital. Photo: Supplied
Dr Bond has been contacted repeatedly for comment.
A formal complaint has also been made to AHPRA against Melbourne chiropractor Bianca Beaumont after she too published a photograph online that appears to show her treating a newborn in hospital.
While the location of the photograph is unknown and Dr Beaumont did not respond to requests for comment, two of Melbourne’s major birthing hospitals said they would not allow external chiropractors to treat babies on their wards.
On her website Dr Beaumont spruiked the service with the line: “Our family wellness clients enjoy having our chiropractors visit them at home or in hospital to have the newest members of their family checked”.
The content was deleted after her office was contacted by Fairfax Media.
In a blog post Dr Beaumont said her profession was “under fire” from social and the mainstream media after a video of a baby’s back being cracked went viral.
“While the nature of this adjustment is something I am not comfortable with personally, I am horrified to think that this may result in chiropractic care for children becoming illegal,” she wrote.
The Chiropractic Board of Australia confirmed it was investigating recent complaints against several chiropractors but does not discuss individual cases.
“There are no excuses. All chiropractors must meet the requirements of the law and if they refuse we can take disciplinary action or prosecute,” a spokeswoman said.
At least seven chiropractors have been sanctioned by the chiropractic board for treating newborns in hospitals since July 2016 including the president elect of the Chiropractor’s Association of Australia, Helen Alevaki.
A woman who gave birth in John Hunter Hospital in 2008 recounted a female chiropractor sneaking into the maternity ward to adjust the newborn of a mother who lay in the bed next to her.
“Her bub would have been about 12 hours old and she and her husband had a visitor that they were trying to talk all hush-hush to,” said the woman who asked not to be named.
“The chiro ‘adjusted’ the baby, which the baby did not seem to enjoy, and she told the mum that vaginal birth was incredibly traumatic for the baby and every newborn should be adjusted within 24 hours of birth to make sure they’re aligned,” she said.
“[The mother] said the chiro had to sneak in like some sort of criminal and pretend to be a visitor because the hospital won’t let her do her work.”
General manager of John Hunter Hospital, Debbie Bradley, said “this is not a practice that John Hunter is aware of and it is not endorsed within our facility”.
The president of Chiropractic Australia, associate professor Rodney Bonello, said many chiropractors were “horrified and embarrassed” by the cases.
“If there’s not [hospital] approval then that’s a travesty and should never be acceptable,” associate professor Bonello said. “The profession has come under a lot of scrutiny, some of it is deserved. I don’t think that we’re under siege.”
CAA chief executive Matthew Fisher said any practitioner who provided care to a patient in a healthcare facility without permission was in breach of the code of conduct for chiropractors.
A Facebook page supporting Australian chiropractors who treat babies has been inundated with photographs featuring overseas-based chiropractors treating infants and young children.
“The [Australian] media seems to be tied tight to the medical community, the pharmaceutical industry,” said Europe-based chiropractor Lynn McAvenia in a video post.