PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Two dozen doctors including the head of child neurology at Hasbro Children’s Hospital have condemned House Democrats’ decision to steer millions of taxpayer dollars to a Cranston chiropractor who practices alternative medicine.
The doctors released their public letter amid growing outrage over the chiropractor, Victor Pedro, who has received at least $1.88 million from lawmakers over the last 15 years and is slated to get another $1 million under the budget released Friday by House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello.
Mattiello announced during a radio interview Thursday morning he is pulling the $1 million from the budget because of the controversy, though he continued to defend Pedro’s work.
“We have grave concerns about the proposal,” the doctors wrote in the letter, whose lead signatory was Dr. Daisy Bassen, vice president of the Rhode Island Council of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Noting that Pedro is not a board-certified physician, they wrote, “There has not been even one double-blind placebo-controlled trial regarding cortical integrative therapy though Dr. Pedro’s website references a handful of case reports, which are not considered equivalent in determining the safety and efficacy of medical treatments.”
The doctors went on to point out that the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry does not recognize Pedro’s treatment, which he calls cortical integrative therapy, and said there is “no widespread support for this intervention in the treatment of migraine, concussion or traumatic brain injury.”
“Cortical integrative therapy is not an evidence-based treatment and it would do our state a severe disservice to fund an unproven intervention and reducing funding to programs which do make a clear difference,” they concluded, suggesting the money be used instead for lead exposure prevention, school meals, or child care assistance.
In addition to Bassen, the letter’s other signatories include Dr. David Mandelbaum, director of the division of child neurology at Hasbro; Dr. Molly Tracy, a child neurologist at Boston Children’s Hospital; Dr. William Brown, medical director of child neurology at Hasbro; and Dr. James Ingraham, president of the Rhode Island Psychiatric Society.
Berman, Mattiello’s spokesperson, defended Petro’s methods Wednesday.
“Speaker Mattiello believes the state should be committed to providing appropriate resources to a program offering unique care and treatment in difficult cases and that gives individuals an improved quality of life, enabling them to live outside the confines of medical facilities,” he said.
“Some established providers would rather warehouse these often neediest of patients rather than offer relief when it is available,” he added.
Ted Nesi (firstname.lastname@example.org) is WPRI 12’s politics and business editor and a Target 12 investigative reporter. He is a weekly panelist on Newsmakers and hosts Executive Suite. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook
Tim White and Eli Sherman contributed to this report.