Unfortunately, traditional medicine can’t cure everything: there are times when the medicine traditionally used to treat certain conditions comes with destructive or dangerous side effects. When it comes to chronic conditions like cancer, which has no easy cure, in some cases when people are diagnosed they choose to go with alternative medicinal options, instead of listening to the advice of the physician who offers the traditional therapies and medications. If you choose to go against the advice of your physician and follow an alternative medicine route, and it doesn’t work out the way that you want, who is responsible for you getting worse – or even for your death?
With diseases like cancer, early diagnosis is the key to stopping the growth of cancer from one body part to another. But there are instances where people delay treatment to try alternative methods instead of going the traditional route. The problem is that if they extend the period of time that they have to use those methods that have a proven track record – even if they have significant side effects – then they are making a conscious choice not to take the conventional method of treatment.
According to Traut Firm, alternative medicine is defined as any medicine that has not been proven or shown to have any clinical significance to make a condition better. There are many patients who insist that alternative methods of medicine work, but there is no scientific data that proves their assertions.
In most instances, alternative medicines tend to have bigger detriments than benefits when studied. Typically, their benefits do not outweigh the risk of forgoing conventional medicine. Statistics indicate that up to 40% of adults in America use some form of alternative medicine regularly.
The most common type of alternative medicine methods:
Herbal medicine: Herbal medicine has long been used in other countries, dating back to before traditional medicine. Many use organic healing herbs for a vast number of conditions. According to WHO, up to 80% of all people around the world use at least one form of herbal medicine.
Acupuncture: An ancient medicine practice, acupuncture has been touted to fix everything from nausea to infertility to depression.
Various energy therapies: Magnetic field therapy is just one type of energy therapies that people use to help with pain management and to reduce depression and anxiety.
Although some alternative medicines have been shown to have positive effects for patients, they are not indicated to be the only line of treatment for serious illnesses like cancer and chronic conditions. While they might help to alleviate the symptoms, there is no evidence that they provide a cure or that they help to stop cancer growth. They are not a substitute for traditional medicine, which has been shown to have some impact in fighting cancer. Traditional and proven treatments like chemotherapy and radiation are accepted therapies for cancers. Although traditional treatments aren’t a cure-all, there is a vast amount of literature that the benefits of traditional cancer therapies outweigh the negative side effects.
If you choose to use alternative therapies instead of taking the advice of your physician, then you are responsible for any consequence that comes from it. Even if the alternative medicine is making false claims about what it can and can’t do, if you are advised to use traditional methods to sustain your life and you choose to use alternative methods, then you are the only one who is liable if you get worse.
There are times when alternative methods might be making false claims, and you may be able to claim that their advertising was misleading, but that would probably not be tantamount to a personal injury claim. If you were offered traditional treatment and you choose an alternate, and it doesn’t work out the way that you want or hope, then you can’t make a claim against the alternative medicine unless they falsely made claims that their medicine offered you a cure.
You might also have a case if they fabricated results or made erroneous statements. But generally, if you choose to use alternate therapies instead of using traditional and proven medicines, then you are the only one who will be liable if you aren’t cured.