Ethics of Chiropractics
Dr. Carolyn S. Ryan
Ethical Society Without Walls
Ralph is a chiropractor in private practice who also gives inspirational workshops and presentations to local communities. He has been practicing for 30 years with much success. He works with people with various muscular and skeletal problems affecting the back, neck, shoulders, hips, and knees. He also has patients who have a variety of health issues, such as, allergies and gastro-intestinal problems. Chiropractic adjustments are individualized to suit each patient's needs. Chiropractic ethical guidelines and HIPAA Regulations assist with following how best to treat patients.
Ralph offers his time and expertise voluntarily to various organizations including agencies servicing those with developmental disabilities, homeless shelters, schools, postal workers, healthcare providers and hospitals, and various sporting organizations. He has found that offering his knowledge and services to others is truly rewarding and a great benefit in his field. Ralph finds it extremely rewarding when some of his younger patients who respond quickly to treatments are quickly released from his care. Much more involved care is required for patients with possible lifelong illnesses.
An ethical issue that occurs fairly often in Ralph's practice is when a patient is prescribed medication. Ralph offers some advice about how to understand the long-term consequences of medication, including side effects. He feels comfortable helping patients by assisting them to learn how to live without medication to relieve pain. In addition, for those patients currently taking medication to relieve an organic issue, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol, Ralph offers suggestions for how patients can make lifestyle changes and consider natural methods to improve overall health. He also is available to speak to the patients' doctors as needed if it would benefit the patient care. Ralph finds that it is always rewarding when patients make partial to complete recoveries and can function without the use of medications or any surgery whatsoever.
One recent ethical dilemma that Ralph encountered was when a new patient was seen for back pain. Ralph referred the patient for a preliminary X-ray. When the X-ray results were returned, it was found that the patient had spinal cancer. Ralph referred the patient to a specialist to confirm the results; in this case, he referred the patient to an orthopedic specialist. The challenge in such a situation is confirming such a life-threatening diagnosis before discussing it with a patient.
Ralph has been extremely fulfilled by his work in the field of chiropractic. He continues to look forward to the opportunities that come his way in the future.