• Can A Doctor Be Sued for Recommending Alternative Medicine Over Traditional Medicine?

    Alternative Medicine

    Alternative Medicine Facts

    If a physician has made a recommendation about the use of alternative medicine rather than traditional medicine, it would represent a significant departure from the use of evidence-based standards that the rest of the medical community adheres to. That is one of the key tenets of a medical malpractice case, which generally relies on four separate elements. Those are:

    1. A professional duty owed to the patient
    2. Breach of such duty
    3. Injury caused by the breach
    4. Resulting economic and noneconomic damages

    If a doctor and patient have established a professional relationship, then the physician’s duty is to act in a way that meets the standards expected of them. These standards are based on what other physicians in the same field and circumstances would do. A recommendation of alternative medicine over traditional methodology would not meet that standard, and would likely lead to a decision against the physician. If, however, the patient has either informed their physician that they have chosen to use alternative medicine or asked them what their thoughts are on a specific protocol, that is a slightly different situation. In this case, a physician would be likely to conduct a risk-to-benefit assessment of the treatment that the patient is inquiring about, and if they believe that there is a risk then they should speak up against it. Without risk, the physician could allow the patient to move forward but might ask the patient to sign a Consent to Assume Risks form in order to protect themselves.

    The use of an alternative medicine provider is an entirely different question. Those providers may also be held liable of malpractice, but generally, that is only true if they depart from the standards of their own community. When a patient knowingly chooses to use alternative medicine, they do so with the understanding that they will be receiving treatment that is different from what a medical doctor would provide. An alternative medicine provider can also be held responsible if they discourage a patient from seeking conventional medical care.

    If you have been harmed after having been treated by either a medical doctor or an alternative medicine provider, you need to know your legal rights. Contact us today to set up an appointment and learn more.

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