Chiropractic News Around the World. The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Blind Man Sees Again

NEW YORK: Doug Harkey—a Dubuque, Iowa, man whose left eye suddenly stopped working 12 years ago—thought he was making a routine visit to his chiropractor. But, the results of his “normal” adjustment left Doug with new-found vision while leaving friends, family and some in the medical community speechless. However, a local chiropractor, Dr. Robert Wrieden of Norwich, is quick to credit his colleague from the Hawkeye State and the power of the human body.

Harkey’s miracle began to unfold following his visit to the chiropractic offices of Dr. Tim Stackis. “My blind eye started watering after I left there and it watered for 45 minutes straight. It started making my good eye water. I went to wipe my right eye – and I could see out of my left eye again,” said Harkey. Dr. Stackis told his patient that the adjustments that he had been receiving alleviated the nerve interference that had prevented his spinal column from properly communicating messages from his brain. Once full communication was restored, so was Harkey’s sight.

“It is important to note that Dr. Stackis never once claimed that chiropractic care cured this man’s blindness,” added Dr. Robert Wrieden. “He just provided quality care. The adjustments eliminated nerve interference that had prohibited the human body from operating at peak efficiency. And, when operating at peak efficiency, the human body can do great things—just ask Doug Harkey,” smiled Robert Wrieden.

As for Harkey, the timing could not be better. He credits Dr. Stackis’ “miracle hands” for the depth perception he had been missing—which helped him navigate his walk down the aisle with new wife Gina last month. The return of his vision, now nearly perfect with the help of corrective lenses, has left the couple with some welcome adjustments. “I’m not quite used to him not running into things or stepping on my feet,” Gina quipped.


Former Chiropractor to Serve 4 Years for Fraud

PENNSYLVANIA: A former chiropractor behind a $12.1 million health insurance fraud that federal prosecutors called the largest in western Pennsylvania history was sentenced to repay the money and spend four years in federal prison. Douglas Henderson, 47, recruited dozens of employees and patients at his defunct Burrell Chiropractic Clinic in Lower Burrell and paid most of them tens of thousands of dollars each in kickbacks to file false claims from 1995 to 2002.

The business closed in 2003 and Henderson voluntarily surrendered his chiropractic license in 2004 as he cooperated with federal investigators. In 2000, auditors for Highmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield first raised questions about claims filed by a relatively small pool of people.

“It’s the highest we’ve ever seen in a health care fraud in this district,” Assistant U.S. Attorney James Y. Garrett said of Highmark’s losses.

Henderson’s sentence also includes prison time for evading more than $400,000 in income taxes by failing to report the income.


Judge Dismisses Auto Fraud Indictments against Lawyer and Chiropractor

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Lawyers for Lawrence attorney Socrates De La Cruz and Haverhill chiropractor Troy Wheelwright proclaimed they had been exonerated of auto insurance fraud allegations recently after a judge dismissed their April indictments. Superior Court Judge Howard Whitehead threw out the indictments after finding that prosecutors had failed to show probable cause that a crime had been committed.

De La Cruz, 34, of Methuen and Wheelwright, 40, of Amesbury were among eight area people indicted by an Essex County Grand Jury that determined they were part of a conspiracy to stage phony accidents to defraud insurance companies.

The indictments stem from an investigation initiated more than two years ago by the state attorney general’s office, working with detectives of Lawrence’s auto insurance fraud task force and investigators of the Insurance Fraud Bureau of Massachusetts. That probe focused on four separate staged crashes that occurred between October 2002 and February 2003.

Paul Cirel, lawyer for Wheelwright, also noted that Whitehead had allowed the motions to dismiss because there was never any evidence his client and De La Cruz had committed a crime.


San Francisco Chiropractor Sues Patient over Negative Online Comments

CALIFORNIA: A billing dispute between a chiropractor and his patient escalated into a lawsuit early in 2008 with the chiropractor accusing the patient of defamation for comments posted about the solo practitioner on an online ratings site, according to court documents. In February, Steven Biegel, DC, filed a complaint in San Francisco Superior Court alleging that comments by his patient, Christopher Norberg, exposed Biegel to “hatred, contempt, ridicule, and obloquy,” according to the suit. Norberg posted his criticism on a San Francisco-based website where consumers can post their reviews of restaurants, bars, hair stylists, physicians, and most other types of businesses.

In the posting, Norberg accuses Biegel of charging him $500 for two chiropractic treatments that he believed were going to cost $125, according to court documents. In Biegel’s suit, he claims Norberg understood the lower fee was only for patients who pay at the time of service, not those who bill the treatment to their insurance.

Biegel reportedly attempted to settle the dispute and asked Norberg to remove the online posting, but was refused.

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