Manitoba chiropractor cleared of misconduct
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A Selkirk chiropractor has been cleared of professional misconduct allegations for sharing vaccine-related news coverage on social media.
Posting links to COVID-related news articles during the height of the vaccine rollout on her personal Facebook page landed Carolyn Weiss in trouble with the Manitoba Chiropractors Association.
The regulatory body charged her with four counts of professional misconduct and launched an investigation of her Facebook activity that relied on posts from a different person named Carolyn Weiss, according to a written decision from its inquiry committee.
The decision clearing Weiss of all misconduct was issued Nov. 23, 2022, and obtained Wednesday by the Free Press.
Manitoba chiropractors are not allowed to speak to patients about vaccinations, regardless of their personal stance. Instead, they’re supposed to refer patients to Public Health, as per a 2017 directive from the MCA that stated vaccination is not within the scope of chiropractic practice.
Posting on social media about vaccines also violates that rule, even if the information being shared is factual and not misleading, according to the disciplinary panel.
The case revolved around a link to a New York Times article Weiss posted on Jan. 19, 2021. Under the headline “Underselling the vaccine,” the column discussed how some health experts were cautiously understating the true effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines and urged enthusiastic vaccination.
The link was one of three COVID-related news articles Weiss shared on Facebook in the winter and spring of 2021, but the New York Times story was the only one that remained on her profile page after Weiss was warned to remove all vaccine-related content.
The failure to take down that post was an “honest mistake,” the inquiry committee ruled in its decision.
“The investigation committee did not prove that the member was careless, defiant or non-attentive to the concerns raised by the registrar. It appears the member made an honest mistake in this regard.”
An unnamed chiropractor reported Weiss to the regulatory association because of the Facebook posts in May 2021, and registrar Audrey Toth advised Weiss to remove them.
Weiss said she would, and did take down other news links, including one about the AstraZeneca vaccine, which Weiss prefaced with “As an immunologist…” (she holds a master’s degree in immunology).
However, the New York Times link remained, and the same unnamed chiropractor complained again, prompting an investigation by investigation chair Daniel Thierren.
Thierren sent a cease-and-desist letter to Weiss that referenced posts made by a different Facebook user with the name Carolyn Weiss.
The matter was resolved after a hearing, but not before Weiss retained a lawyer.
The inquiry panel decided Weiss didn’t commit misconduct and was acting “in good faith.”
“In considering all the circumstances and taking into account the subjective and objective evidence, the hearing panel finds that the member’s error in failing to remove all posts in the first instance does not equate to professional misconduct,” the decision states.
Katie May is a general-assignment reporter for the Free Press.