Chiropractic lost a legend today. A man that stood for what was right and true. A man that helped bolster the profession of chiropractic. May you rest in peace Dr. Chester Wilk.
Did you know that prior to 1983, your MD could not refer you to a chiropractic office. The AMA held that it was unethical for them to associate with chiropractors. In 1976, Dr. Wilk and four other chiropractors sued the AMA, several nationwide healthcare associations, and several physicians for violations the Sherman Anti-trust Act. This lawsuit carried on for years.
The AMA had a plan to eliminate chiropractic. The massive scope and methodical nature of this plan were exposed in hundreds of thousands of pages of AMA documents that were brought to light in the 1976 trial Chester C. A. Wilk et al. v. AMA et al, The AMA writers ghostwrote television and movie scripts, as well as Ann Landers’ widely read newspaper column and any other media outlet that could be used to tarnish the reputation of chiropractic in the public eye. The AMA even encouraged the distribution of anti-chiropractic materials to high school guidance counselors so they would dissuade interested students from pursuing careers in it [15, 18]. During the 11-year court battle that ensued, the AMA settled three lawsuits by relaxing its position on the referral of patients to chiropractors by medical doctors. In 1980, the AMA revised its Principles of Medical Ethics to reflect this new position, allowing medical doctors to be free to choose the patients they served, the environment they served in, and the other types of practitioners they associated with .
The judge ruled that the AMA had engaged in an unlawful conspiracy in restraint of trade "to contain and eliminate the chiropractic profession." (Wilk v. American Medical Ass'n, 671 F. Supp. 1465, N.D. Ill. 1987). She further stated that the "AMA had entered into a long history of illegal behavior". And, she then issued a permanent injunction against the AMA under Section 16 of the Clayton to prevent such future behavior.
I did not write this to bash the AMA or any MD. I wrote this to honor a man that stood for the truth. A man that didn't give up. Due to his dedication, patients today benefit from collaborative care that comes from open communication between the primary care doctor and the chiropractor. Godspeed Dr. Wilk, we'll take it from here.