Exploring the Podiatric Malpractice Case of Seabrook vs. Katz, DPM

Can a podiatrist be held legally accountable for causing a foot deformity?

Recently, the podiatric malpractice case of Seabrook v. Katz, DPM, went to trial in New York.  In this case, the plaintiff, Patricia Seabrook, claimed that the defendant podiatrist inflicted foot deformities and pain while attempting to treat her recurrent hammertoe. Ms. Seabrook underwent six different arthroplasty surgeries between the years 2006 and 2010 to correct the foot condition.  Unfortunately, the end result for Ms. Seabrook was deformity to her foot and foot pain caused by the podiatrist’s failure to use a K-wire and removal of too much bone. The case presents some interesting issues for the field of podiatric malpractice, as discussed by our NYC podiatric malpractice attorneys below.

A Podiatrist’s Medical Duties

Plaintiff Seabrook alleged that Dr. Katz, the defendant, failed to adhere to accepted medical standards when he removed too much of her bone and did not use a K-wire during the surgeries.  K-wire is used to stabilize the bone during hammertoe surgery. In presenting these claims, the plaintiff called in an expert witness, podiatrist Dr. Plotkin. Plotkin confirmed that in his opinion, the defendant’s surgical method constituted a departure from standards of podiatric medicine, leaving the plaintiff’s toes floppy and deformed.

Despite the evidence presented in the favor of the plaintiff, the jury deliberated for an hour and found that no medical malpractice was committed.  The jury findings could lend credence to the difficult nature of successfully bringing a medical malpractice case. Seabrook presented some strong evidence that the jury could have based a finding of malpractice on, yet it ultimately ruled for the defendant.  

Building a Medical Malpractice Case

Successful medical malpractice cases will require meeting a high legal standard.  To boost your chances of a successful case, you will want to consult with a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible after your injury.  You will need to be able to show the existence of a doctor-patient relationship. Next, you must prove that the doctor acted negligently. This is the most challenging part of any malpractice case.  You will need the testimony of another physician to support your claim of negligence and you must show a serious departure from accepted medical practices. Additionally, you will need to show that the doctor’s negligence caused the injury and the injury led to damages.  Contact a medical malpractice lawyer for a review of your potential case.

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.