Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
When you hear that phrase, do you think of a courtroom scene? Most people do. In a legal setting, “sworn testimony” is an affirmation that the statement being given is 100-percent true. When one is asked to repeat this phrase, it’s a clear indication that the matter in question is serious.
Have you ever testified in court or given a legal deposition? You may have to provide testimony regarding personal injury cases.
Even when you know you will just be answering simple, straightforward questions from a well-documented file, the “promise to tell the whole truth” phrase can be intimidating to repeat as you raise your right hand and pledge to a judge, attorneys, and a jury. It makes you keenly aware of your words and ethics.
That being the case, wouldn’t it make sense to adopt such an attitude in your practice, relationships, and daily life? There should be no need for a threat of perjury for this to happen. Yet, consider the case of a recent female grad who, as a new DC, had a problem with her report of findings (ROF). Â·She was telling the truth – but not the whole truth.
It seems many chiropractors are either unaware of the research or unable to effectively communicate the fact that spinal correction and healing takes time. As a matter of fact, any process of positive change that happens in the body takes time.
For example: Losing weight, building muscle, growing hair, straightening teeth, and rehabilitating after injury are all time-intensive processes. Check out the 33 Principles of Chiropractic sometime. Principle number 6 is “The Principle of Time.” There is no process that does not require time.
Another common problem in ROFs concerns the issue of whether it is better to use “scare tactics” or “care tactics.” Some doctors and educators try to make this an “either-or” question. Neither of them alone, however, is likely the correct approach. You certainly should not go overboard and use the power of fear to coerce people into chiropractic.
What about “care tactics”? Well, you definitely have to care – in fact, you should care so much that you are willing to share the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth with your patients.
If the truth about a person’s condition is so serious that it wakes them up (scares them) to the degree that they take action, then so be it. Oftentimes, significant or intense warning signs and symptoms have not awakened them. Doctors and experts have not either. At times, they have neglected their body and what it needs as a result of not knowing the whole truth.
Your role, as a chiropractor, is to share truth in a caring way. And just like taking the oath on the stand, this is not always easy. Yet, to water down the truth because you are afraid of scaring patients is not what the oath calls for. The whole truth is what you pledge.
If you fail to share the whole truth about how the body really functions and heals, then you are not keeping your oath. What is the result for patients? They get only a part of the truth, part of their healing, part of their potential, and maybe only part of their life.
As a result, you as the doctor will only obtain partial results, partial compliance, and partial success.
Why not make an oath to yourself, to your patients, and to chiropractic to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? Don’t perjure yourself in the ROFs – or anywhere else when talking chiropractic!