A Midwest Chiropractor recently placed an advertisement in a newspaper that read in part:
This 66-year-old lady had suffered from diabetes for 21 years…. She had taken insulin over a period of time and had learned to live with the condition. After several adjustments she became aware that she no longer needed insulin, and is happy to report that a backache pain between her shoulders that once kept her miserable is now no longer a problem.
As we have seen, some chiropractors, unlike medical doctors, advertise by publishing testimonials of persons who have supposedly been helped or cured by chiropractic treatment.
It should be noted, to begin with, that personal testimonials are not used in scientific medicine to prove or disprove the validity of therapies, and for good reason. There has probably never been a worthless or fraudulent treatment that could not produce a legion of persons who would swear that it helped or cured them. Nothing could be more impressive than to pore over old files on phony and often tragically dangerous remedies and treatments and to see in these files the reams of statements from persons who say that the remedy delivered them from their illness after everything else had failed. The statements were undoubtedly given freely, and represent the true belief of the persons who gave them. In some instances they are notarized, or were given under oath in court.
Some of the reasons behind such testimonials have been commented on by Dr. Richard M. Paddison. “The average human being is simply not competent to judge accurately the value of any therapeutic treatment” he says. An important factor which the person cannot assess, he says, is, “Was the result actually in response to the treatment?”
Again, there is the fact that psychological considerations play a powerful role. “Individuals who are particularly psychiatrically susceptible to suggestion and persuasion,” he states, “often readily give up their symptoms under the influence of counseling and reassuring.’ The same thing can be true even with less susceptible persons. “It has been noted that with scientifically sophisticated people like medical students, if given pills which are known to be biologically inert along with the advice and suggestion that they will produce adverse effects, such as cramps, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, 25 to 40 percent may report the adverse effects; and conversely, if they are told that these pills will have a very beneficial effect in keeping them from catching cold, then similarly they will swear that these pills have protected them from colds all winter.
Again, some diseases are characterized by spontaneous remissions-that is to say, they come and go. Multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis are two such diseases. It is noteworthy that “improvement” of these conditions is prominently featured in chiropractic patient testimonials.
Another factor that probably accounts for many chiropractic “cures” is that many or most symptoms are self-limiting. In laymen’s language, a condition will in most cases get only so bad, then it will improve, in whole or in part, temporarily or permanently. To get a favorable testimonial, all one has to do is to ask the person, at the right time, whether or not he feels better. Chiropractic treatment, says Dr. Milton Helpern, Chief Medical Examiner of the City of New York, “caters to and exploits those individuals who are afflicted with symptoms which are self-limited and if the timing is right seem to respond to their manipulations. It apparently succeeds in situations in which a patient’s complaints do not respond to immediate care of the physician but eventually prove self-limiting coincidental with chiropractic manipulation.” Unfortunately, even more serious issues are raised by some chiropractic testimonials.
A leading user of testimonials is Spears Chiropractic Hospital. Its publication, the Sanigram, and various other booklets and leaflets issued by the hospital, are full of stories, pictures, and statements of patients who have allegedly been helped by the hospital’s treatment.
When Spears sued the Denver Better Business Bureau, the Denver Post, and some eighty other parties for libel in the 1950’s, the records and case histories of numerous persons appearing in Spears’s testimonials were introduced into evidence. According to the records, some patients whose glowing statements appeared in Spears’s literature were dead when the material was published.
A Spears’s circular entitled “Good News,” bearing a postmark of December 29, 1953, was among the exhibits. Producing actual death certificates, the defense stated that one person whose testimonial appeared in this publication had died November 9, 1950; another, in December, 1952; a third, in June 1953; a fourth in December, 1953. Among other cases was that of John M. Parsons. [The name is fictional, though the victim is not.] The Spears Sanigram for August, 1953, carried an item entitled “Spear’s Treatment Relieves Cancer; Patient Still Has Lung and Health.’ The item read:
John M. Parsons is one lung and years of health ahead since arrestment of his cancer at SPEARS hospital.
He suffered from shortness of breath which assumed such serious aspects that he consulted a doctor who had no trouble diagnosing his patient’s malady: A slow-growing tumor affected the bronchial tube which supplied air on that side. A biopsy proved the tumor to he malignant. Various orthodox practitioners took X-rays of Mr. Parsons’ ailing lung, and all came to the same conclusion-that surgery was the only recourse. . . .
Mr. Parsons meditated on his situation briefly. He told the surgeon he would have “to think it over. He visited (a chiropractor] who recommended that the sick man go to SPEARS, since the malady was far advanced. Mr. Parsons accepted this advice. He was admitted to SPEARS March 23, 1953, very ill, weak, depressed, and gasping for air. His heart was overworked as a result of operating on “one lung power.”
Within slightly less than four weeks, Mr. Parson’s blocked lung began to function. As it improved, the sped-up heart labored less and breathing became normal.
As matters transpired, the Californian checked out of SPEARS with two good lungs and one excellent heart during May, 1953. He found his recovery hard to believe, but X-rays prove the cancerous growth is gone, the bronchial tube clear.
Said Mr. Parsons as he was about to leave SPEARS: “Brother! Am I happy over the way things turned out.”
The man’s wife wrote the following letter to the Denver Better Business Bureau:
I regret to inform you that Mr. Parsons passed away on September 8, 1953.
He went to Spears Clinic in Denver on the advice of [a chiropractor], and his treatment consisted of a special diet and massages on his chest and back for the purpose of inflating his infected lung. Needless to say, these treatments did no good. Mr. Parsons felt worse when he, came back then he did when he arrived at that institution. He also took additional treatments from [the chiropractor] when he came home with the same results.
He never did feel any better. His death came September 8, 1953.
Another type of “proof” used by chiropractors is the so-called “cure chart.” These charts are circulated by many chiropractors among their patients, are used in chiropractic advertising, and are part of the standard tool kit used by chiropractic lobbies to secure legislation favorable to the chiropractic profession. They are scientific-appearing compilations supposedly showing the high percentage of persons suffering from various afflictions who have been helped by chiropractic treatment.
One of them, based on “studies reported by the Chiropractic Research Foundation of the National Chiropractic Association, the Committee on Research of the International Chiropractors Association, and Parker Chiropractic Research Foundation,” includes the following:
|CONDITIONS||PERCENTAGE WELL OR MUCH IMPROVED UNDER CHIROPRACTIC TREATMENT|
|Gall bladder disorders||
|High blood pressure||
When another chiropractic cure chart, entitled Field Research Data, published by the Research Committee of the International Chiropractors Association, was submitted to the Massachusetts Legislature in 1956 as part of the chiropractic lobby’s intensive (and ultimately successful) efforts to get licensure in that state, Dr. Robert W. Buck, appointed by the Legislative Research Council to study the data, reported:
This booklet might easily be accepted by the un-critical reader as a “story of chiropractic achievement,” as claimed in the preface. Actually, it consists of 91 “Survey sheets,” each page showing by means of tables and diagrams that chiropractic treatment over periods extending from 1 to 225 days “cured” or “relieved” an average of 92 percent of all symptoms or diseases treated. This would truly seem to be an achievement until one remembers that any symptom or complaint that a patient might have is bound either to disappear or become less troublesome at some time between I and 225 days after it appears, at least 92 times out of 100, whether the patient has received any treatment or not. Consequently, charts of this sort could easily be prepared for any symptom or any disease under any treatment whatsoever, Of under no treatment at all. [“Report submitted by the Legislative Research Council relative to boards of registration for chiropractors, electrologists, and sanatarians” (Boston, February 21, 1956) p. 85.]
Chiropractors use yet another type of testimonial-statements by certain medical doctors attesting to the value of chiropractic treatment. Such a testimonial appears in the attractive booklet “Fact or Myth: A Quiz on Health Care,” recently published by the American Chiropractic Association:
Buried in the pages of medical journals [the booklet states] are thousands of expressions of opinion by medical doctors indicating their confidence in the methods and principles of chiropractic. Typical is the statement made by Herman Rubin M.D., a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, in his book EUGENICS. “It may never occur to them [his medical colleagues] that the headaches, stomach trouble, neuritis or nervous irritability they are attempting to cure may be due to nothing more serious than a displaced vertebra which any competent chiropractor can restore in 10 seconds.”
Dr. Rubin’s testimonial is also cited in both of the recently published paperback books extolling chiropractic, which were mentioned in Chapter Two. An abbreviated version of it appears in the chapter entitled “Medical and Lay Opinions in Favor of Chiropractic,” in Thorp MeClusky’s book Your Health and Chiropractic. An extended version appears in the chapter entitled “Progressive M.D.’s Approve Chiropractic,” in Chiropractic: A Modern Way to Health, by Julius Dintenfass, D.C. Because of this wide dissemination, the testimonial and its author are worthy of study.
Dr. Dintenfass’ book and the ACA booklet both state that Dr. Rubin is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, this statement is not true; Dr. Rubin is not a Fellow of the association. This group states that it does name certain persons as Fellows in recognition of their scientific achievements, but Rubin has never been named as a Fellow. He is a member of the association. There are no requirements for membership; anyone may join.
The ACA booklet and both paperback books give the title of Dr. Rubin’s book as Eugenics. This is a bowdlerization. The correct title is Eugenics and Sex Harmony. It was published by Pioneer Publishing Company in 1934. Sections of the book bear such titles as “Secrets of the Honeymoon,” “The Kiss,” “The Real Reason Men Prefer Blondes,” and “How to Regain Virility.” There are numerous line-drawing illustrations in the text with captions such as “The Kiss,” “The ‘It’ Girl,” and “The Happy Home and the Sordid Nightclub.”
The sentence quoted in the ACA booklet is an edited and shortened version of the sentence that actually appears in the book, with the chiropractor-editors giving no indication to the reader of the booklet that this has been done. The editing completely conceals the fact that Dr. Rubin’s attack is not directed against medical doctors as the parenthetical insertion in the booklet states, but against psychoanalysts. Psychoanalysts, says Dr. Rubin, “ignore the fact that almost 90 percent of the physical ailments of mankind are due to auto-intoxication from intestinal absorption, from violation of fundamental hygienic laws, from lack of fresh air and exercise, from improper eating or from food stuffing, from faulty habits of sex life-in fact, from anything that violates any of Nature’s laws.” Other things that psychoanalysts may be ignoring, Dr. Rubin continues, include “hollow teeth,” “focal abscesses in various structures of the body,” and “the wrong kind of bath.”
All this leads up to the sentence quoted in the ACA booklet, Here is how it actually reads in Dr. Rubin’s book. Material omitted by the chiropractor-editors is indicated by italics.
It may never occur to them that the headaches, stomach trouble, neuritis, or nervous irritability they are attempting to cure may be due to nothing more serious than a displaced vertebra, which any competent osteopath or chiropractor can restore to normal position in ten seconds, and which all the king’s horses and all the king’s men could not put back by mental means in ten years, or ten thousand years.
Dr. Herman H. Rubin was born in Russia in 1891. He graduated from Long Island College Hospital in 1915 and was licensed in that year to practice medicine in New York State. In the early 1920’s he was medical director of a firm called Gotham Corporation, which marketed an obesity remedy called Citrophan. Ads for the product stated, “Science has found that the chief cause of obesity lies in the development of alcohol in the digestive tract, brought about by the action of yeast bacteria taken into the stomach in improperly baked bread-and on raw fruit and vegetables.” An article on Citrophan in the March 1, 1924, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association labels this statement untrue, and calls Citrophan “another ‘fat cure’ nostrum.”
According to the Journal article, Dr. Rubin had some interesting associates in this venture. One was Edwin F. Bowers, who represented himself as an M.D. on his stationery. A “report” on Citrophan by “Dr.” Bowers was used as an important part of the advertising campaign for the product. Actually, says the Journal, “Bowers is not a graduate in medicine, never attended any medical college as a student of medicine and is not licensed to practice medicine in any state of the Union.” He was previously involved in promotions for two other patent remedies, which the Journal describes bluntly as fakes.
Another party in the promotion was Albert Freeman, who busied himself selling stock in Gotham. In letters to prospects he confided that “there is a large profit in Citrophan,” and that he expected the company to be doing $5 million annually in a “reasonably short time.” He urged prospects to buy in at $100 a share, adding, “You may send your subscription to me for the Gotham Corporation, but do not send it through a broker . . .”
A third luminary, the Journal reported, was Frederick L. Childs, vice-president of Gotham. This name, says the article in the AMA Journal, appears in AMA’s files as one who used to live at Kalamazoo, Michigan, and was vice-president of a “consumption cure” promotion and also a part owner of a Kalamazoo patent medicine concern.
After a while, Citrophan faded. Meanwhile Dr. Rubin had developed a new enthusiasm – a device called the Radiendocrinator. It consisted of a gold-plated metal wafer three-eighths of an inch thick, two inches wide, and three inches long, which was supposed to be “worn on the body over the endocrine glands while asleep.” Dr. Rubin wrote a small book plugging the device, entitled The New Science of Radiendocrinology in Its Relation to Rejuvenation. “The Radiendocrinator,” he says in this book, “is built up of radioactive materials which send forth from the instruments an unending stream of powerful ray-charges that penetrate the endocrines and ionize them.’ Benefits, he stated, included “return to youthful functioning,” and successful treatment of such diseases as diabetes, kidney trouble, prostate conditions, tooth decay, arthritis, chronic headache, locomotor ataxia, and obesity.”
The theory of the cause and cure of obesity set forth by Dr Rubin in this book differs from that used to sell Citrophan, cited above. Obesity, he says in the book, “is due largely to faulty thyroid and pituitary gland action . . . . Until the thyroid and pituitary are restored to normal, true obesity can rarely be successfully corrected.” The book was copyrighted in 1923 while the Citrophan promotion was active. Dr. Rubin, medical director of Gotham Corporation, apparently held two theories about the cause and care of obesity simultaneously.
A paperback version of Dr. Rubin’s book, with his name omitted from the title page, was prepared and used in the Radiendocrinator promotion. The device originally sold for $1,000. The firm later announced that it had been able to “simplify and perfect production methods,” and dropped the price to $150.
In 1924 Dr. Rubin was expelled from the membership of the Medical Society of the County of New York and the Medical Society of the State of New York. The Radiendocrinator promotion continued until the early 1930’s, when it faded away. In 1936 Dr. Rubin was readmitted to the medical societies.
Another piece of literature is a leaflet issued by the Parker Chiropractic Research Foundation entitled “MD’s Comment on Chiropractic.” It was one of the items available for quantity purchase by chiropractors at the 1967 Parker seminar that I attended. It is given to patients and to legislators. Copies were sent to members of the Oklahoma State Legislature in 1967 in connection with bills being pushed by chiropractors. Other state and national legislators may receive the leaflet in connection with future activities of the chiropractic lobby, if they have not received it already.
The leaflet contains no fewer than twenty-three statements endorsing chiropractic by persons designated as medical doctors. This is an apparently formidable array, and I have therefore subjected the contents of the leaflet to study. Two of the quotations are from foreign doctors -one English and one French. I did not attempt to check these quotes. An inquiry into the remaining twenty-one turned up a good deal of information.
The American Medical Association’s Circulation and Records Department keeps records on every person who graduates from an accredited medical school in the United States, and every person licensed to practice medicine in any of the fifty states of the Union. The information in these records extends back before chiropractic was born. According to these records, only thirteen of the twenty-one “MD’s” whose testimonials appear in this leaflet were ever medical doctors.
Of the twenty-one persons, I was able to find some kind of record of eighteen. All of them, including all the MD’s, are dead. A nineteenth, if he is not dead, would now be about ninety years old.
I found a definite year of death for seventeen of the testimonial-givers. They all died between ten and fifty years ago. At least five were born before the Civil War, and one was born in 1847, before the end of the Mexican War.
Checking back, I discovered that thirteen of the quotations appear in a booklet entitled Opinions of Well Known Medical Men and Osteopaths Regarding Chiropractic, published by the Palmer School of Chiropractic sometime between 1915 and 1920. Five others appear in a booklet of the same title, with no publisher or date indicated, that was probably produced in the early l930s, and definitely came out before February, 1936, as indicated by a postmark on a copy I have seen (this booklet also contains the thirteen that appear in the 1915-1920 booklet).
Further study of the records of the thirteen genuine MD’s revealed an interesting fact. Ten of them were also chiropractors. Their activity dated back to chiropractic’s early years, when a small number of medical doctors enlisted under D. D. Palmer’s banners. If these ten are representative, M.D.-D.C.’s were mostly men of little standing in the medical world, many of whom were involved in healing superstitions or medical quackery.
One of the M.D.-D.C.’s whose testimonial appears in the Palmer leaflet is Dr. William A. Seeley, the man who was born during the Mexican War. He never graduated from any medical school, but in 1886, in accordance with the usage of the time, he was granted a license by the state of Iowa to practice “homeopathy,” a type of herbal medicine. This gave him the right to use the initials M.D. He was an early graduate of the Palmer School and thus became an M.D.-D.C. He died in 1918 at age seventy-one. Half a century later, thanks to the Parker Chiropractic Research Foundation, his testimonial still appears in chiropractic waiting rooms and in the halls of state governments.
Another of the M.D.-chiropractors is Dr. E. W. Feige, of Huron, South Dakota. He was born in 1871, graduated from Chicago Homeopathic Medical College in 1895, and was licensed by Iowa in 1895 and by South Dakota, in 1897. He subsequently graduated from the Palmer School of Chiropractic. He died in 1936.
In 1910 his name appears as a member of the staff of a group called the Weltmer Institute of Suggestive Therapeutics. A Kansas physician wrote that Feige was reported to be “performing miracles by suggestion.” Later he became much interested in a type of treatment called “aetheronics,” involving the use of machines called Streborcam Aetheronic Emanation Instruments. Like the Drown Therapeutic Instruments (see Chapter Five), these machines supposedly cured patients anywhere in the world by transmitting emanations to them. Also like the Drown instruments, aetheronic machines were inspired by the “radionics” theories and devices of Dr. Albert Abrams.
The grand mogul of aetheronics was a man named Dorr Eldred Wood, who set himself up as an “authorized Abrams practitioner,” then graduated to aetheronics which he described as beyond both physics and electronics. Aetheronics machines, says a sales pamphlet, “accomplish desired results, the complete negativing and arresting of disease and toxin activity in the patient regardless of the correctness of the diagnosis.” A patient in Japan, the pamphlet states, can be cured in an hour; one in South Africa, in thirty-five minutes; one in Europe, in twenty minutes; “and within a radius of one thousand miles, approximately fifteen minutes are needed to arrest and negative disease and toxin emanations.” Prices of the machines ranged from $170 to $450. Feige provided a statement for a booklet of testimonials about the treatment.
A third MD-chiropractor whose testimonial appears in the Parker leaflet is Howard L. Cornell who was born in 1872, graduated from Medico-Chirurgical College of Kansas City in 1902, and was licensed to practice in Missouri and Kansas. In 1917 he graduated from the Palmer School of Chiropractic. He died in 1939.
Cornell’s specialty was diagnosis through astrology. An advertisement in the February, 1921, issue of an astrological publication, The Aquarian Age reads:
DIAGNOSIS AND HOROSCOPE WORK
By H. L. Cornell, M.D., Ph.D., D.A.
Diagnosis Work.-A seven-page, typewritten treatise on your health and mental traits; your good and evil planetary periods for the next five years, with diagnosis, star map, and advice…………..$5.00
Horoscope Work.-A seven-page typewritten horoscope, treating of such matters as marriage, health, finance, travel, mental traits, friends, enemies, love affairs, vocation, legacy, partnership, etc., with your good and evil planetary periods for the next five years, including star map, advice, and answers to questions……………$5.00
A seven-page typewritten reading on the suitability of two people in marriage, including two star maps, advice, and answers to questions………..$5.00
I will mail you one copy of my book free, “Astrology and the Diagnosis of Disease” with all $5.00 orders. State your year, month, day, hour and place of birth, present occupation, and whether married or single.
Address, DR. H. L. CORNELL, 3108 Humboldt St., Los Angeles, California.
Cornell wrote an immense work called The Encyclopedia of Medical Astrology, offered for sale by Cornell Publishing Company. An ad for the book says, “Seventeen years in writing, this 966-page book on Astro-Diagnosis of every known disease subject is the culmination of Dr. Cornell’s life work as a great doctor and astrologer.
Of the three non-chiropractor MD’s whose testimonials appear in the leaflet, one is identified as Lee Forest Potter. The same testimonial appears in Thorp McClusky’s book Your Health and Chiropractic, with the name given as La Forest Potter, and according to AMA records the latter is correct. La Forest Potter was born in 1855 and died in 1951, age ninety-six. He graduated from Boston University School of Medicine in 1884 and was licensed to practice in Massachusetts and New York. He contributed articles to Physical Culture, the food faddist magazine run by the late Bernarr MacFadden. He was apparently interested in “cancer cures”; at one time he was associated with a proponent of the so-called “grape juice cure” for cancer, and at another time he was reported to be giving cancer injections” for $150 each.
The second non-chiropractor M.D. is H. W. Scott. AMA records list Herbert William Scott, who was born in 1867, graduated from the Detroit College of Medicine and Surgery in 1897, and was licensed to practice in Michigan in 1900.
In a promotional booklet issued in 1912 for a contrivance called the Oxypathor, Scott’s name appears as recommending and endorsing the machine. The Oxypathor, the booklet says, cures such conditions as appendicitis, diphtheria, blood disorders, catarrh, kidney trouble, heart trouble, gallstones, Bright’s disease, blood poisoning, dropsy, pneumonia, typhoid fever, and “most forms of paralysis.” “As the dews gather upon the bosom of the sleeping earth to feed and refresh vegetation,” the booklet says, “so does the application of the Oxypathor, while you rest or sleep, cause your body to increase its vitality and thus overcome its debility in a natural way.”
Scott moved to Canada in 1912 and died there in 1926. The third of the non-chiropractor MD’s is U.A. Lyle. AMA records list Urban A. Lyle, who was born in 1878, graduated from Physio-Medical College of Indiana in 1903, and was licensed to practice in Indiana in that year. In the late 1920’s Lyle was assistant medical director of Indianapolis Cancer Hospital, one of the greatest of all quack cancer promotions. A 1929 bulletin issued by the Indianapolis Better Business Bureau on the hospital calls it “without doubt the most disgraceful institution that has ever been permitted to operate for any length of time in the City of Indianapolis, and one of the worst, if not the worst, in the whole country.” The intervening years have done nothing to mellow the verdict.
In form letters sent to prospective customers throughout the country the hospital said, “After years of experience and research, we have found that the best means in combating this disease, is by the injection (with an ordinary hypodermic syringe) of what we term our Liquid Laboratory Product, this injection being made directly into the cancer, destroying it completely. . . . Usually one treatment (which requires but a few moments’ time,) destroys the entire cancerous growth.”
In its campaign to secure the names of potential customers, the hospital developed a gimmick that may be unique in the annals of medical quackery. It circularized the nation’s ministers, offering them a small item such as a fountain pen, a penknife, a pair of cuff links, a watch fob, or a clothes brush, in exchange for the names and addresses of persons known by the minister to be suffering from cancer. The ministers also received certificates good for $25, which sum they would receive as soon as any person whose name they supplied entered the hospital as a patient. The clerics were assured that the cancer victim would never know where the hospital had gotten his or her name.
The hospital’s confidence in the venality of some men of the cloth was ruled by the results. Names of many cancer sufferers came in from ministers. At hearings before the Indiana State Board of Medical Registration and Examination held in 1929, it was testified that the fountain pens were purchased by the hospital in lots of 600 each and “went in no time.”
The hospital then wrote to the people whose names the ministers provided, describing its treatment in glowing terms. Cancer patients poured into Indianapolis from all over the nation. The hospital offered treatment to all types ranging from terminal cancer victims to people whom subsequent medical examination showed not to have cancer at all. Before treatment began, victims were asked how much money they had, and were required to make advance “down payments” ranging up to $1,000. In desperation, poor people literally handed over their life savings, and rural people mortgaged their farms.
After collecting the advance payment, the hospital kept the patients at $25 a day until their money ran out, and then sent them home. If they inquired about their condition they received curt, angry replies. They were seldom treated or even examined. The license of the hospital’s medical director, Dr. Charles C. Root, was later revoked for being intoxicated while in charge of patients and for misrepresenting his ability to cure cancer. The selection of letters from the hospitals victims published in the May 23, 1929, issue of the Indianapolis Better Business Bureau Bulletin, in which these and other harrowing circumstances are revealed, was shocking.
The hospital kept the contents of its Liquid Laboratory Product secret. But the Indianapolis Better Business Bureau obtained a sample and had it analyzed. Its principal ingredient vas zinc chloride, a common chemical, worthless for treatment of cancer. Thanks in great measure to the bureau’s crusade, the hospital closed its doors in June, 1929. Dr. Urban A. Lyle died in 1950, but his endorsement of chiropractic is still being circulated by the Parker Foundation.
As we have noted, eight of the testimonials in the leaflet are by persons claimed by the Parker Foundation to be MD’s, but, according to AMA records, they never graduated from an accredited medical school and never held a license. Six of these testimonials appear both in the booklet published by the Palmer School of Chiropractic sometime between 1915 and 1920, and in the booklet of the same name published by an unknown source in the 1930’s. The other two appear in the 1930’s booklet only.
In these booklets, only four of the eight persons are listed as MD’s and these four are designated as MD-chiropractors. The other four are designated as osteopath-chiropractors. The American Osteopathic Association’s records confirm that two of them were osteopaths, but the Association could find no record of the other two.
Turning first to the four alleged M.D.-chiropractors, all I could find out about one of them, W. E. Brayman, is that he died in Akron, Ohio, in July, 1917.
A second, Edward P. Bailey, was apparently a “naturopath” who represented himself as an M.D. In the September, 1910 issue of the Columbus Medical Journal, a magazine on medical subjects for laymen, he describes ” a new treatment for rupture” involving the use of herbs. After his name appear the initials “N.P.D.M.” In 1917 he was elected president of the Association of Naturopathic Physicians of California. In the April, 1922, issue of the Journal of a group called “The Allied Medical Associations of America” (no relation to the American Medical Association) his name appears with the initials M.D. after it. Bailey died in 1951.
The third person in this group, G. W. Raby, was born in 1873, and ran a drugstore in Hickory, North Carolina. In 1918 he informed the American Medical Association that he was a graduate of Keokuk Medical College, Keokuk, Iowa, Class of 1897. AMA checked but could not find Raby’s name in the college’s alumni lists.
The fourth person is Frederick L. Fischer, allegedly a physician of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His statement, published in the 1915-1920 booklet, is described as having been given at the Second Annual Palmer School of Chiropractic Lyceum at Davenport in 1915. In 1922 the Journal of the American Medical Association, commenting on Fischer’s testimonial, said, “The records fail to show that any man of this name has any right to call himself or has ever been licensed to practice medicine; neither does the latest Philadelphia telephone directory show any man in the city of Philadelphia of this name, chiropractor or otherwise.”
Of the four osteopath-chiropractors, the American Osteopathic Association has no record of Edward S. Doutt and S. C. Wyatt, both of whose testimonials appeared in the 1915-1920 Palmer School booklet. D. L. Evans, the third man, was a licensed osteopath who graduated from Still College of Osteopathy in 1906. He died in 1928. The fourth, J. Franklin Coon, was born in 1854 and was licensed to practice osteopathy in the state of Washington at age fifty-five. He died at age seventy-eight in 1932.
Coon had his own pet cure-all. In a half-page ad in the March 13, 1924, issue of the Walla Walla, Washington, Daily Bulletin, he attacked the medical profession for ignoring his ideas. He charged MD’s with using “DIRTY, CONTEMPTIBLE, DISHONORABLE TRICKS AND DEVICES FOR ATTRACTING AND HOLDING PATIENTS … they ‘coddle’ and intensify disease that their patients may become feeble chronic sufferers; all because they cannot afford to lose the fees such sickness implies.”
Further on in the ad he stated: “By them also [the MD’s] I am declared a criminal because I have announced to the world that I have been fortunate enough to acquire knowledge of a remedy that enables me to deliver my fellow men from the suffering and ultimate death, to which their unjustifiable methods subject him.” This remedy, Coon says, “can cleanse the bloodstream of the pollution that makes possible the development of cancer and tuberculosis.” Unfortunately, he continues, he is being required to discontinue advertising his great discovery. He does not specify what the discovery is, either in this ad or in promotional materials for his “Health Institute” in Centralia, Washington, where he allegedly effected numerous cures. But Coon was apparently one of the many chiropractors who were enthusiastic boosters of the theories and machines of Dr. Albert Abrams. A week before his big ad appeared in the Walla Walla Paper, a small news item in the Wartsburg, Washington, Times noted that Coon had given a public demonstration of the “Abrams Method of Diagnosis” in that town.
These, then, are the men chosen by the Parker Foundation, a leading light in the chiropractic world, to speak for the chiropractor.
Let us now turn to the actual findings of science.