Lawrence chiropractor censured, fined $4,000 for flawed COVID-19 advertising

Practitioner offered adjustments, urged consumption of vitamin C and elderberry

By: - September 8, 2021 5:50 pm
A Lawrence chiropractor is fined $4,000, publicly censured and ordered to complete 24 hours of continuing education for making false claims in March 2020 about thwarting COVID-19. (Screen capture/Kansas Reflector)

A Lawrence chiropractor is fined $4,000, publicly censured and ordered to complete 24 hours of continuing education for making false claims in March 2020 about thwarting COVID-19. (Screen capture/Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA — The Kansas Board of Healing Arts issued a public censure and $4,000 fine against a Lawrence chiropractor who urged potential clients early in the pandemic to “get adjusted” by a chiropractor to improve prospects of surviving COVID-19.

Chiropractor Amelia Rodrock also agreed by signing the joint consent order with the KBHA to complete 24 hours of supplemental continuing education concentrated on the ethics of advertising on social media.

KBHA documents say the regulatory board established Rodrock violated state law in March 2020 by attempting to solicit clients through use of fraudulent or false advertising. Her online pitch for delivery of services of a chiropractor was likely to “deceive, defraud or harm the public,” KBHA said.

Rodrock attracted attention by asserting in Facebook posts that people had a better chance of living through the Spanish flu in 1918 if they were treated by a chiropractor rather than by a physician.

In term of early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, she said, Kansans should “definitely” come to her clinic if worried about getting sick. She said treatment by a chiropractor could improve a person’s nervous system and make the immune system respond better against COVID-19. She suggested people get healthy through adjustments by a chiropractor before “s*** hits the fan” amid the pandemic.

In addition to chiropractic adjustments, she proposed consumption of high-dose vitamin C and of elderberry. She urged taking of echinacea, a coneflower sometimes promoted as a dietary supplement for the common cold.

Rodrock, a graduate of Cleveland Chiropractic College, did include a recommendation that people ill with the coronavirus seek treatment of a medical doctor. No vaccine for COVID-19 existed at that time.

“Maybe we don’t need to be as scared as we are,” she advised, while including an image within the online post that said people ought to “see a chiropractor to increase your chances of survival from coronavirus.”

On Wednesday, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported that Kansas had documented 382,850 cases of COVID-19 linked to 13,063 hospitalizations and 5,693 fatalities. That was an increase in Kansas since Friday of 5,727 infections, 141 hospitalizations and 63 deaths.

In a separate online video posted in March 2020, Rodrock she was disappointed the Lawrence Journal-World wrote the initial article raising questions about her thoughts on interventions by chiropractors in the pandemic. Reportedly, a Lawrence physician brought Rodrock’s claims to attention of the newspaper.

Rodrock stepped back in the follow-up video from her earlier claim about surviving COVID-19, declaring “none of us really know” how to effectively deal with coronavirus.

“I’m just really fired up right now that, one, a medical doctor in the community would have the audacity to be a jerk and contact the Lawrence Journal-World saying that I’m spreading misinformation. Super not cool, medical doctor,” Rodrock said on the second video.

At that time, KDHE officials discouraged Kansans from relying on chiropractor visits to quell COVID-19. KDHE recommended people engage in social distancing, wear masks and wash hands until researchers completed work on vaccines.

Rodrock was initially licensed by the state of Kansas in December 2013. Her license was renewed in December 2020. She signed the consent order settling the case with the Board of Healing Arts in May, but the KBHA didn’t complete work on the order until Aug. 16.

Instead of a censure, KBHA could have chosen to reprimand Rodrock or to limit, suspend or revoke her license.

 

 

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Tim Carpenter
Tim Carpenter

Tim Carpenter has reported on Kansas for 35 years. He covered the Capitol for 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal and previously worked for the Lawrence Journal-World and United Press International. He has been recognized for investigative reporting on Kansas government and politics. He won the Kansas Press Association's Victor Murdock Award six times. The William Allen White Foundation honored him four times with its Burton Marvin News Enterprise Award. The Kansas City Press Club twice presented him its Journalist of the Year Award and more recently its Lifetime Achievement Award. He earned an agriculture degree at Kansas State University and grew up on a small dairy and beef cattle farm in Missouri. He is an amateur woodworker and drives Studebaker cars.

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