A former Halifax-based chiropractor has been ordered to pay $100,000 to Nova Scotia‘s regulator as part of a settlement agreement stemming from charges of professional misconduct that were levelled after she made online posts questioning vaccination and immunization.
A decision by a hearing committee of the Nova Scotia College of Chiropractors, released on Thursday, gave Dena Churchill 10 years to pay the money due to her “dire financial circumstances.” However, if Churchill has not paid at least $30,000 of the fine by Jan. 2, 2022, then the entire fine is due immediately.
In 2018, the college launched an investigation into Churchill, who operated Oxford Chiropractic Inc., over “prolific” posting on social media about disproved and unfounded views on vaccination in a blog entitled Dr. Sexy Mom.
Nova Scotia’s chiropractor college has said that vaccines are outside the scope of chiropractic practice and that it recognizes “vaccination and immunization are established public health practices in the prevention of infectious diseases.”
“Churchill’s conduct brought the profession of chiropractic [medicine] into disrepute,” the decision by the committee reads.
“Churchill has shown no remorse. There is a genuine concern that she is ungovernable.”
Churchill surrendered her licence to practice chiropractic medicine in Nova Scotia on Jan. 22, 2019, admitting to the charge of being “professionally incompetent as a result of incompetence arising out of mental incapacity.”
She had been set to face a misconduct hearing in May, but it was cancelled after Churchill entered into a settlement agreement with the college, admitting to the charge of conduct unbecoming of a chiropractor.
She was also found to have repeatedly defied requests from the college’s registrar to stop her anti-vaccination posts.
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The committee ultimately disagreed with Churchill’s position that her actions were “not an egregious breach” of conduct, saying she has shown no remorse for her actions, and awarded the college $100,000.
“We are particularly aware of the relevance of deterrence, particularly in light of the prolific social media posting of views harmful to the public,” the decision reads.
“This entire matter could have been avoided if [Churchill] deleted offending posts from her social media account. She refused.”
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