podiatrist and patient looking over foot x-ray

Did Your Podiatrist Ask the Right Questions Before Performing Your Foot Surgery?

Did your foot surgery have a bad outcome? While all surgery involves some risks, foot surgery complications are relatively common. Not only that, but over 65 percent of foot surgeries with negative outcomes have been performed by podiatrists rather than orthopedists. If you have been a victim of podiatry malpractice, and your foot surgery has left you with ongoing pain, foot deformity, or lack of mobility, you may well be entitled to sue for damages. To file a successful lawsuit against a negligent podiatrist, however, it is essential to work with an experienced podiatry malpractice lawyer.

At Dental & Podiatry Malpractice Lawyers of New York, our attorneys have the skills and determination to fight tirelessly for your right to fair compensation. If your podiatrist was negligent, you deserve damages for your loss of income, medical costs, and pain and suffering. We are well aware that in most cases your misery could have been avoided if only your podiatrist had bothered to ask him-or-herself the right questions. 

Easy Questions Your Podiatrist Should Ask

Many times, simple questions, asked early, are all that is necessary to avoid serious trouble. These include:

Have I diagnosed the problem correctly?

Diagnosis should always be supported by diagnostic imaging testing, such as X-rays or MRI scans. Other conditions, including underlying diseases, should be ruled out by blood tests and/or in consultation with a specialist in the pertinent field. This is essential, both to avoid unnecessary surgery and to make sure that another illness, such as cancer, does not worsen by remaining undetected.

Does this patient require surgery?

Surgery is an invasive procedure that should never be undertaken lightly. The podiatrist should have tried, or at least seriously considered, other, less invasive methods, such as bracing or taping, physical therapy, assistive devices, and cortisone injections, to rectify your problem.

Have I taken the patient’s medical history and reviewed it carefully?

Serious, even catastrophic, mistakes can occur if the podiatrist hasn’t taken, updated, or paid close enough attention to the patient’s medical history. It is crucial that the doctor understand any pre-existing conditions (e.g. heart disease, epilepsy, diabetes), be aware of any medications and supplements the patient takes, and any allergies to medications, anesthesia, or products like latex or adhesive tape. 

Unless the podiatrist is aware of such problems going in, patients can be seriously injured or even die as a result of an allergic or drug interaction, a seizure, a stroke, or going into diabetic shock.

Did I provide my patient with all the information needed to give informed consent?

Have I discussed all the possible complications of this surgery? Have I discussed whether I will do something different than planned if I find something unexpected during surgery? Many malpractice charges arise when the patient is troubled by being surprised by an unexpected step taken by the podiatrist during the surgical procedure. To give informed consent the patient has to be fully informed.

The Hardest Question of All Involves the Podiatrist’s Ego and Level of Self-Confidence

It is often difficult for individuals, especially well-trained professionals, to question the depth of their knowledge or their ability to tackle any problem or procedure in their field of expertise. Nevertheless, nobody wants to be the patient of a doctor who is not up to the task and no doctor should want to bluff her or his way through a delicate operation. Many malpractice cases could be avoided if podiatrists were only brave enough to ask themselves:

Am I sufficiently knowledgeable and/or experienced to perform this particular surgery?

If the podiatrist can’t answer this question in the affirmative without the slightest doubt, the patient should be referred to someone with more experience and more comprehensive knowledge. Recommending an orthopedist who specializes in this particular type of procedure may make the situation safer for everyone concerned (including the podiatrist!).

Did your podiatrist forget to ask the right questions?

At Dental & Podiatry Malpractice Lawyers of New York, our focus is on working hard to obtain damages for you to successfully restart your life. We will evaluate your malpractice case carefully and, once we take you on as a client, will provide you with compassion as well as superior legal representation. We have a strong track record of winning substantial verdicts and settlements and would like nothing better than to count you among our well-satisfied clients. 

About the Author
Of all the different areas in medical malpractice, it is podiatry malpractice that has had a particular interest to me. With 42 years practicing law and representing hundreds of victims of malpractice, I have created a law practice in which my clients are comfortable knowing that their case is being handled with my personal attention, in the most professional manner, and without unreasonable delays.