Who Is the Physician at Your Local Chiropractic Stem Cell Clinic?

by Chris Centeno, MD /

Receive a Regenexx® Patient Info Packet by email and learn why it's a superior regenerative solution.

stem cell chiropractor

I often say you just can’t make this stuff up. That’s my sense this morning after looking into a local chiro clinic that offers seminars. I would like to use this example to teach you about the internal workings of many of these clinics nationally, as this post applies across the nation. They all seem to have a “medical director” problem. Let me explain.

Chiro Stem Cell Scams

Chiro clinics (as well as other alternative-medicine providers and some MDs) are at the forefront of consumer bait-and-switch scams involving amniotic and umbilical cord “stem cells.” These clinics give seminars that tell consumers their stem cells are “too old” but not to worry, we have millions of live and young stem cells we will inject. These will cure pretty much anything. The problem? What they inject is all dead tissue without any functional and living stem cells. See my video below that delves into just one of these many scams:

Investigating a Local Chiropractic Stem Cell Clinic

The chiropractic clinics around our Colorado HQ are particularly aggressive in advertising and sales tactics. Regenexx has a new national marketing director who wanted to experience all of this for herself, so she decided to sign up for one. The first thing that struck her was the aggressiveness of the sales calls she got even before she showed up to the seminar. This is what she experienced:

  • 1 e-mail upon sign up
  • 5 phone calls
  • 4 texts

She kept saying to me that she felt hounded. It was also clear that the calls she was getting were from some distant call center and that whoever was calling was reading a script. Once she got to the seminar, there were 10 attendees with three couples, mostly older. The claims at the seminar were the standard chiro fare, with a heavy emphasis on “your stem cells are too old,” hence we use amniotic or umbilical cord blood containing young stem cells. When cost was discussed, it was avoided, and all they would say was that they would create options to fit your budget. In addition, specific medical questions about candidacy were avoided.

Digging Deeper

Our marketing director sent some materials from the seminar, so I decided to dig deeper, as, in my experience, things are never what they seem on the surface when you’re dealing with a chiro clinic offering stem cells. I was not disappointed.

The clinic’s name was “Peak Vitality-Regenerative and Functional Health.” As someone who often researches chiro stem cell clinics, this was my first clue that something was off. Why? Many chiro clinics that add a nurse or a doctor with the wrong subspecialty often focus on using the term “functional health” as a moniker.

I began by Googling the clinic in South Denver. I soon found a website that listed one location in Texas called Premier Medical Group and one in Colorado. I thought that was a bit odd. I also found a physician on the website, a “Dr. Riaz UI Haque MD.” First, the title of the physician was miswritten, as for an MD, there is no “Dr” before the name. More concerning was that when I ran a search on the Colorado Medical Board website, he didn’t have a Colorado license. I then called the Colorado clinic asking if appointments were available with this doctor. I learned that he wasn’t seeing patients at the Colorado clinic but was only in Texas. I was told that a Dr. Darby was at the Colorado clinic. When I asked to read about her credentials, I was given the website of a natural faith healer, obviously not the right one. When I called back again, I was told that no information was available.

Dr. Darby?

So who is Dr. Darby? I quickly found online that she is an internist, meaning that she specializes in internal medicine. What does internal medicine have to do with orthopedic “stem cell” treatments? Not much. I then began a quest online, which was initially confusing until everything was explained.

It turns out that Laura Darby, MD, is listed online at the following:

  • The Anderson Podiatry Center as a medical director—but that page is blank and seems to have been pulled
  • S. Quebec St. in Highlands Ranch, CO, which is Compass Health Systems
  • Kimmer Drive in Lone Tree at a Facial and Cosmetic Surgery Center
  • S. Jackson Street in Denver, which is BioHarmony Medical
  • On LinkedIn as “The Get Naked Doctor,” where she says she works at “Unpeel Yourself,” which seems to be her own cosmetics business

I stopped looking after this as it was clear that while I was told that Dr. Darby was a full-time physician at the chiro “stem cell” clinic, I had my doubts that this information could be true given what I found.

Why Is an Internist Working at a Chiro Office That Offers Orthopedic Stem Cell Treatments?

What was clear from the many addresses and types of clinics above is that Dr. Darby is working or has worked in many environments that are outside the scope of internal medicine. I was able to find the following:

  • Podiatry
  • Hair transplants
  • Cosmetics
  • A stem cell clinic

Internal medicine is a discipline that usually involves the medication management of many common chronic disease conditions. Things like heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, and so on. A good internist is worth his or her weight in gold. However, one of the areas where the specialty doesn’t provide training or experience in is specific surgical or injection-based procedures.

I then dug deeper and pulled the medical license history on this provider. I immediately found that Dr. Darby has a restricted license. What happened? In 2010, there was an incident while she was working in a hair-transplant clinic where she had performed this procedure inappropriately and the patient’s scalp became infected. While infections happen, the medical board determined that the management of said infection was below the standard of care. After the infection had set in, Dr. Darby had a technician remove the sutures and didn’t see the patient. The wound, because it was infected, opened and Dr. Darby still didn’t see the patient, and the technician tried to sew it back up again, still not recognizing that there was an infection.

All of this brings up a number of issues. First, what is an internal medicine doctor trained in how to manage medications doing performing a hair transplant? Apparently, the medical board thought the same thing as she has a permanent restriction on her license disallowing her from performing hair transplants. Along the same lines, what is an internal medicine doctor doing performing orthopedic stem cell injections?

I’ve seen these issues before with physicians hired by chiro-run stem cell clinics. Take, for example, the medical director for IMAC clinics in Kentucky, who is a neurosurgeon operating on a restricted license due to drug use. Why is this more common in these chiro practices? I suspect because recruiting a top-notch doctor who has a skill set that matches the task at hand is difficult for chiro-owned clinics.

Having said that, there is a right way for a chiropractor to be involved in advanced medical care; it’s just more expensive. I have detailed this in a prior blog. Basically, a chiropractor can own a clinic and provide ethical care if he or she spends the time and resources to hire a competent physician who is subspecialty trained in that area of medicine and that doctor is in control of the clinic operations.

What Does All of This Mean for Patients?

Interventional orthopedics is not just slapping dead amniotic or umbilical cord tissue into a patient’s knee, hip, or shoulder. It’s precisely placing real platelets or stem cells into specific areas that are damaged and using sophisticated guidance technologies to do so. What does that look like? Watch my video below:

So what happens when you have a doctor who isn’t really trained in interventional orthopedics doing these procedures? You get a procedure that we would consider substandard. Would Dr. Darby even qualify to be trained by either the Interventional Orthopedics Foundation or to be on the Regenexx network? Nope, she wouldn’t be permitted in either organization based on a lack of the proper base training to succeed.

So while I focused here on Peak Vitality and Dr. Darby as a concrete example of the larger national issue, it’s critical to note that this is a problem that extends well beyond this clinic. It plagues many chiro “stem cell” clinics around the country, where often there is no physician but only a nurse or physician assistant. So if you plan to be treated at a chiropractic stem cell clinic, please do your homework on who is doing the procedure. If you stick with Regenexx clinics, your homework is done for you as we won’t allow untrained or poorly trained physicians on our network.

The upshot? As I said, you can’t make this stuff up! Meaning, I am constantly surprised at what I find when I dig deeper into these clinics. They all look great on the surface, but doing any kind of background research frequently exposes that what meets the eye is often only part of the story.

Category: Latest News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Chris Centeno, MD

Regenexx Founder

Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications.
View Profile

Get Blog Updates by Email

Get fresh updates and insights from Regenexx delivered straight to your inbox.

Regenerative procedures are commonly used to treat musculoskelatal trauma, overuse injuries, and degenerative issues, including failed surgeries.
Select Your Problem Area
Shoulder

Shoulder

Many Shoulder and Rotator Cuff injuries are good candidates for regenerative treatments. Before considering shoulder arthroscopy or shoulder replacement, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.

  • Rotator Cuff Tears and Tendinitis
  • Shoulder Instability
  • SLAP Tear / Labral Tears
  • Shoulder Arthritis
  • Other Degenerative Conditions & Overuse Injuries
Learn More
Cervical Spine

Spine

Many spine injuries and degenerative conditions are good candidates for regenerative treatments and there are a number of studies showing promising results in treating a wide range of spine problems. Spine surgery should be a last resort for anyone, due to the cascade of negative effects it can have on the areas surrounding the surgery. And epidural steroid injections are problematic due to their long-term negative impact on bone density.

  • Herniated, Bulging, Protruding Discs
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • SI Joint Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched Nerves and General Back Pain
  • And more
Learn More
Knee

Knees

Knees are the target of many common sports injuries. Sadly, they are also the target of a number of surgeries that research has frequently shown to be ineffective or minimally effective. Knee arthritis can also be a common cause for aging athletes to abandon the sports and activities they love. Regenerative procedures can be used to treat a wide range of knee injuries and conditions. They can even be used to reduce pain and delay knee replacement for more severe arthritis.

  • Knee Meniscus Tears
  • Knee ACL Tears
  • Knee Instability
  • Knee Osteoarthritis
  • Other Knee Ligaments / Tendons & Overuse Injuries
  • And more
Learn More
Lower Spine

Spine

Many spine injuries and degenerative conditions are good candidates for regenerative treatments and there are a number of studies showing promising results in treating a wide range of spine problems. Spine surgery should be a last resort for anyone, due to the cascade of negative effects it can have on the areas surrounding the surgery. And epidural steroid injections are problematic due to their long-term negative impact on bone density.

  • Herniated, Bulging, Protruding Discs
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • SI Joint Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched Nerves and General Back Pain
  • And more
Learn More
Hand & Wrist

Hand & Wrist

Hand and wrist injuries and arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and conditions relating to overuse of the thumb, are good candidates for regenerative treatments. Before considering surgery, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.
  • Hand and Wrist Arthritis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Trigger Finger
  • Thumb Arthritis (Basal Joint, CMC, Gamer’s Thumb, Texting Thumb)
  • Other conditions that cause pain
Learn More
Elbow

Elbow

Most injuries of the elbow’s tendons and ligaments, as well as arthritis, can be treated non-surgically with regenerative procedures.

  • Golfer’s elbow & Tennis elbow
  • Arthritis
  • Ulnar collateral ligament wear (common in baseball pitchers)
  • And more
Learn More
Hip

Hip

Hip injuries and degenerative conditions become more common with age. Do to the nature of the joint, it’s not quite as easy to injure as a knee, but it can take a beating and pain often develops over time. Whether a hip condition is acute or degenerative, regenerative procedures can help reduce pain and may help heal injured tissue, without the complications of invasive surgical hip procedures.

  • Labral Tear
  • Hip Arthritis
  • Hip Bursitis
  • Hip Sprain, Tendonitis or Inflammation
  • Hip Instability
Learn More
Foot & Ankle

Foot & Ankle

Foot and ankle injuries are common in athletes. These injuries can often benefit from non-surgical regenerative treatments. Before considering surgery, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.
  • Ankle Arthritis
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Ligament sprains or tears
  • Other conditions that cause pain
Learn More

Is Regenexx Right For You?

Request a free Regenexx Info Packet

REGENEXX WEBINARS

Learn about the #1 Stem Cell & Platelet Procedures for treating arthritis, common joint injuries & spine pain.

Join a Webinar

RECEIVE BLOG ARTICLES BY EMAIL

Get fresh updates and insights from Regenexx delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to the Blog

FOLLOW US

Copyright © Regenexx 2019. All rights reserved. | Privacy Policy

*DISCLAIMER: Like all medical procedures, Regenexx® Procedures have a success and failure rate. Patient reviews and testimonials on this site should not be interpreted as a statement on the effectiveness of our treatments for anyone else.

Providers listed on the Regenexx website are for informational purposes only and are not a recommendation from Regenexx for a specific provider or a guarantee of the outcome of any treatment you receive.