Lawrence chiropractor censured, fined $4,000 for fraudulent COVID-19 advertising
photo by: 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 that 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.
photo by: Screen Shot from Facebook page of Rodrock Chiropractic, Lawrence
In the 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 urged people to consume high-dose vitamin C and elderberry, as well as 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 said she was disappointed that 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 the 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 their 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.
— Tim Carpenter reports for Kansas Reflector.