The Alexandria Hospital governing board decided last night to continue to ban chiropractors from admitting and treating patients at the hospital, rejecting a request by two area chiropractors seeking staff privileges there, according to a hospital spokesman.
During a closed meeting, the board voiced support, however, for a hospital committee's recommendations for continued discussion with the two chiropractors and others to increase its understanding of chiropractic, spokesman David Norcross said.
Chiropractors Alan L. Tannenbaum of Alexandria and Richard Vaitsas of Winchester, Va., petitioned the hospital for staff privileges, seeking to break a tradition against members of their profession working beside medical doctors in hospitals.
Bernhardt K. Wruble, the chiropractors' attorney, said of last night's decision: "It is not in the public community's interest and certainly not in the interest of patients who choose chiropractors."
"Unless the board assigns responsibility to get something through, then it the decision to continue discussion must be regarded as simply empty and not sincere," Wruble said. "We suggested specific actions the board could take if it sincerely wanted a dialogue."
A committee of the governing board conducted a four-month study and reported that it did "not doubt that instances arise where a hospitalized patient wants and might benefit from chiropractic therapy."
But the report said hospitals have had little experience with chiropractors as staff members or affiliates and that a medical school or teaching hospital would be better suited for an experimental program in granting privileges to chiropractors.
The report also said that the hospital would have problems supervising chiropractors because the medical staff doesn't fully understand chiropractic techniques.
Last week, five chiropractors who are suing the American Medical Association and nine other medical organizations over alleged systematic discrimination against chiropractors won a new trial in Iowa after the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court ruling.