Several medical journals have reported an increase in the amount of medical malpractice claims brought against alternative healthcare providers. To understand this number, however, you need to understand a few things about what constitutes alternative healthcare. There are some areas where the laws that govern physician malpractice may not apply.
What is Alternative?
To understand what alternative medicine is, you have to understand it from the point of view of most medical doctors. According to most of these professionals, anyone without an MD behind their name—or an equivalent title that is based on passing the requirements for a degree in scientific medicine—is an alternative practitioner. A chiropractor, for instance, is considered an alternative practitioner by many medical doctors and establishments because they do not accept that chiropractic methods are based in science and because chiropractors do not necessarily have to go to medical school to receive their degrees. They can still be sued for medical malpractice, however.
Acupuncturists and other practitioners in fields that are not universally-accepted—or even widely-accepted—as real medicine sometimes exist in a grey area where the law is concerned. There are states that have licensing requirements for these practitioners, however, and they do have some standards of care that they have to adhere to. A lawyer is really the only one who can tell you whether or not you can go after one of these practitioners for medical malpractice or not. You’ll have to consult with a qualified attorney and get their opinion about whether or not it’s worth it to press a lawsuit against them in court.
What if They’re Not Liable?
There may be cases where someone who has promised you some sort of medical care is really not qualified to give it and where you cannot sue them for medical malpractice. There may be other options available to you, however, and you’ll need to speak with an attorney about the matter to see if there is some way you could file a civil suit.
In some cases, you may actually need to speak with a state licensing agency or to an officer of the law if there was some sort of fraud involved. Alternative practitioners are sometimes employed at hospitals, but there are usually limits to what hospitals will get behind. They may have an acupuncturist or a chiropractor on staff because these are generally accepted as somewhat effective treatments. There are plenty of alternative practitioners, however, who have no qualifications or reliable methods whatsoever.