Naturopathic doctors purport to offer safe alternative remedies for the treatment of diseases and conditions that rival those found in traditional medicine. However, many of the claims they make aren't backed by science, and sometimes people die because so-called natural remedies were actually more dangerous than they appeared to be. Unfortunately, winning a malpractice case against a naturopathic doctor will be challenging for the following two reasons:
It May Be Harder to Overcome the Assumption of Risk
Although naturopathic medicine has been around for a long time, it doesn't have a great reputation. Much of the general population thinks this field is full of quackery, and naturopaths aren't regarded as true healthcare professionals by many people in the medical community.
It's important to acknowledge this reality because the judge or jury in the case may feel the victim should have been wary about following the advice of someone who works in a field with such a questionable reputation. Because the decedent chose to work with someone who works in a "shady" field, the court may think he or she assumed the risks associated with that decision, such as the increased likelihood the treatments would be harmful to the person's health.
Thus, it'll be important to show that any adverse effects of the treatment were above and beyond what could have been reasonably anticipated. For instance, dong quai is sometimes recommended to alleviate allergy symptoms since it has antihistamine properties. If a person takes the supplement and bleeds to death after being injured, you could make a case this was a side effect the patient could not have anticipated, particularly if the naturopath failed to mention that dong quai causes slow blood clotting.
It's best to consult with an attorney about this issue. He or she can help you devise ways to counter the prejudice the court may have against naturopathy that could affect the outcome of your case.
The Doctor May Not Be Subjected to Certain Laws
Only 18 states have laws regulating the licensing and education of Naturopathic doctors. This can be problematic because it may be difficult to hold the person liable for damages in certain situations.
For instance, licensed doctors have an obligation to advise patients about the side effects and risks associated with medical procedures or medicine prescribed to them. However, people who practice naturopathy may not be held to the same standard, so it may be difficult to pursue a wrongful death case based on a failure to disclose critical information about a treatment.
That doesn't mean all is lost, though. You may still be able to win compensation based on other laws the doctor may have broken. Again, it's best to consult with an attorney who can advise you on the best way to proceed.
For more information about suing naturopathic doctors for damages or help with a wrongful death case, contact a wrongful death lawyer in your area today.