Can I Sue a Chiropractor or Acupuncturist for Medical Malpractice?
When you think about suing a doctor for medical malpractice, the specialties that first come to mind are probably surgeons, obstetricians, or other medical providers. However, any state-licensed medical or “healing arts” professional, including chiropractors, naprapaths, acupuncturists, and nurse-anesthetists, can be sued for negligence resulting in serious injury to a patient
Examples of Chiropractic Malpractice
Because chiropractors often manipulate or adjust the spine and neck, it is possible for a patient’s existing injuries to be made significantly worse or even for new injuries to occur. Examples of malpractice by a chiropractor include:
- Failure to obtain a thorough patient history and perform a proper examination prior to treatment, resulting in a treatment inappropriate given the patient’s pre-existing conditions that causes serious additional injury to the patient.
- Negligence in performing manipulations, such as using too much force, which can result in a herniated disk, nerve damage leading to paralysis, or arterial damage leading to stroke.
- Misdiagnosis of the cause of pain, resulting in delayed treatment of the patient for the true problem.
Examples of Acupuncture Risks and Practitioner Negligence
Negligence in the practice of acupuncture can lead to serious injury or even death. Three common ways that an acupuncturist might be found negligent include:
- Failure to refer the patient to a licensed physician or dentist when the patient’s condition is beyond the acupuncturist’s scope of practice, as required by the Illinois Acupuncture Practice Act (225 ILCS 2).
- Failure to act in accordance with the standard of care expected in the profession. For example, an acupuncturist may fail to properly sterilize needles or follow infectious disease guidelines.
- Failure to properly inform a patient of the consequences of a procedure that carries a substantial risk.
Bee venom acupuncture, which uses live bee stings rather than needles, can be particularly risky. One woman recently died from anaphylactic shock after receiving bee venom acupuncture, even though she had been receiving bee stings once a month for about two years and had not reported side effects previously. In such a case, an acupuncture practitioner could be sued for medical malpractice on the basis that they failed to properly inform the patient of the potential consequences of the procedure.
Contact an Orland Park Medical Negligence Lawyer
The statute of limitations for medical malpractice in Illinois is two years from the date you discovered an injury and no more than four years from the date of the medical incident that causes the injury. Because it can take six months or more to prepare a lawsuit, do not delay in consulting an experienced Cook County medical malpractice lawyer. Call the Orland Park office of Schwartz Injury Law at 708-888-2160, or call our Joliet office at 815-723-7300 to schedule a free consultation.