Medical professionals have weighed in on a Melbourne-based chiropractor’s controversial treatment of a baby and whether or not he was in the wrong.
On Wednesday Dr Andrew Arnold from the Cranbourne Family Chiropractic and Wellness Centre came under fire for a “distressing” video published on the company’s Facebook page in August last year.
The post, which has since been deleted, shows the doctor treating an infant, by manipulating the baby’s hips, collarbone and back, and using a spring-loaded device on the child’s neck. However, what is most shocking to some is when Arnold hangs the infant upside down by his ankles.
Appearing on Channel Nine’s A Current Affair on Wednesday night, orthopaedic surgeon Dr John Cunningham and chiropractor Simon Floreani added their two cents to the debate which has shocked Australians across the country.
According to Cunningham, infants should never need the treatment of a chiropractor and Arnold’s actions were “completely unnecessary”. He explained there are serious risks involved with the treatment and can sometimes lead to death.
“Manipulating a newborn’s spine is completely unnecessary,” Cunningham told A Current Affair. “There’s been cases of babies dying, there’s cases of babies having their necks fractured.
“The vast majority of these treatments will go without a hiccup, but there is still a risk.”
However, Floreani disagreed claiming he had performed procedures on babies from just one week old and there has been more and more parents coming to him for help.
“I’ve been doing this 20 years, and the proportion of paediatric patients has gone from one in 10 to three or four in 10,” he said on the program.
“The first place that hospital staff will send them is to us, because we can gently and carefully help to realign the spine.”
The debate follows calls from Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) to step in, labelling the treatment as “unacceptable”.
“The Chiropractic Board of Australia must condemn this practice as unprofessional and unacceptable and the AHPRA must act quickly to stop these rogue practitioners in their tracks,” she told 9 News.
“This vision is deeply disturbing. Newborn babies are extremely fragile and it’s important to be aware that damage done to an infant may not be obvious immediately and may not manifest until years later.”
A spokesperson for the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and the Chiropractic Board of Australia has since confirmed that Arnold has now offered an “undertaking”, which states he won’t be able to “undertake any chiropractic treatment of children from birth to 12 years” while investigations continue.
The statement read: “On 21 February 2019, the Chiropractic Board of Australia accepted, as part of an interim action process by the Board, an undertaking offered by registered chiropractor Andrew Arnold. This restricts the practitioner’s practice, while AHPRA and the Board investigates.
“An undertaking is legally binding. A breach of an undertaking may be the subject of regulatory action. Details of the undertaking can be found [here]. We are not able to comment any further about our investigation, because our processes must be fair, and the National Law prevents us from commenting on any individual health practitioners or matters beyond what is on the public register.”