The Texas Supreme Court, however, may soon consider part of that case, after a state appeals court ruled favorably for the Texas chiropractic board, saying that chiropractors can make limited diagnoses with these procedures. The court said that the chiropractors could diagnose conditions related to the spine and muscle system, and be within the scope of their practice.
TMA: 'A public safety issue'
In another case, the Texas Medical Association won. In December, an Austin state judge granted the association's motion to prevent chiropractors from performing vestibular testing. The vestibular system, a component of the inner ear, is linked to the central nervous system. The judge declared that chiropractors who performed vestibular tests went beyond their profession's lawful scope of practice.
"We think there's a legitimate public health issue, a public safety issue," David Bragg, an attorney for the TMA, says of the physicians' legal battles with the chiropractors.
"From a patient's point of view, many times they don't understand the difference between a doctor of chiropractic and a doctor of medicine," Bragg says. "Potentially, there could be someone exhibiting symptoms of a profound (physical) problem, and chiropractors argue that they should be allowed to diagnose that condition. But these patients maybe should immediately go to the appropriate medical provider. Is this person having a stroke? A heart attack? There should be no delay built into the process."
The chiropractors' claims for diagnostic qualification "dilutes the medical license; it weakens the medical license," Bragg says.