In this article we explain (1) the standard of care that health care providers must meet and (2) how these principles apply to complementary and alternative medicine practitioners. The scenario describes a 14-year-old boy who is experiencing back pain and whose chiropractor performed spinal manipulation but did not recognize or take steps to rule out serious underlying disease—in this case, testicular cancer—either initially or when the patient's condition continued to deteriorate despite treatment. We use chiropractic care for a patient with a sore back as an example, because back pain is such a common problem and chiropracty is a common treatment chosen by both adult and pediatric patients. The scenario illustrates the responsibilities that complementary and alternative medicine practitioners owe patients/parents, the potential for liability when deficient care harms patients, and the importance of ample formal pediatric training for practitioners who treat pediatric patients.
- Copyright © 2011 by the American Academy of Pediatrics