Around 2.3 million acupuncture treatments are carried out in the UK every year, while a British Medical Association survey has shown that half of doctors have prescribed acupuncture to patients. Despite the perception that acupuncture is risk-free, studies in Britain and Germany suggest that up to 10% of patients report adverse effects following treatments.
One of the major problems in the industry is that no training or experience is necessary for those offering their services as acupuncturists, meaning that practitioners are sometimes unqualified and not sufficiently competent to carry out delicate acupuncture treatments.
The first step to take if you have experienced problems following an acupuncture treatment is to speak to the practitioner or acupuncture practice manager and discuss the issue. The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) is the main self-regulatory body in the UK, and can deal with concerns and complaints regarding their members. It is also worth contacting the British Medical Acupuncture Society (BMAS), a registered charity, which also handles complaints against its members. Otherwise you will need to get in touch with a firm of solicitors that have experience of taking legal action against acupuncture practitioners and acupuncture practices.
Mistakes made during acupuncture can lead to potentially fatal complications. One of the most serious of these is a collapsed lung from a needle puncturing the pleural membranes due to a practitioner pushing it in too deeply. Needles may also be left in the body of patients for far longer than intended, and may then require surgery to remove them. This can lead to soft tissue damage, infections and abscesses forming under the skin.
Acupuncturists must observe high standards of hygiene at all times. Needles must be properly sterilised and should never be reused on different patients due to the possibility of infection and the transmission of bloodborne diseases such as hepatitis. There are also contraindications that make acupuncture unsuitable for individuals, including pregnancy, bleeding disorders, and pre-existing heart conditions, meaning that a thorough medical consultation should be carried out with patients prior to treatments.
Despite the success of acupuncture in relieving a variety of ailments therefore, the treatment is not without its risks, particularly when practitioners are unlicensed and lack professional skill. A reasonable level of competence is expected from those offering acupuncture services, and where a practitioner fails to meet this standard and causes harm to a patient it will often be possible for the latter to claim compensation. Our female solicitors have experience of suing acupuncturists for injuries, infections, illnesses and diseases. Contact our firm today for free and reliable legal advice if you are thinking of reporting an acupuncturist for malpractice.