I Think My Podiatrist Performed an Unnecessary Amputation of My Foot

All unnecessary surgery, unless it is an elective surgery that the patient desires, may be a strong basis for a malpractice lawsuit. Certainly, an unnecessary amputation of a foot falls into this disturbing category. If you believe that your podiatrist performed an amputation of your foot that was unnecessary and has caused you extreme pain, physical dysfunction, and permanent deformity and disability, you should definitely consult with a sharp podiatry malpractice attorney to discuss your options.

If you are located in the New York area, you are fortunate to have one of the finest podiatric malpractice lawyers available to you. Lawrence M. Karam, PC of Dental & Podiatry Malpractice Lawyers of New York has a well-earned reputation for an in-depth understanding of laws governing podiatry malpractice and a track record of success in a field of litigation known to be challenging.

Why is amputation performed?

Many people associate the need for amputation with diabetes. There is, in fact, a strong correlation between the illness and the need for this drastic operation. Poor blood flow to extremities often results from diabetes, causing peripheral neuropathy and inability to heal wounds. For this reason, about 60 percent of non-traumatic amputations are connected to diabetes.

Other reasons amputation may be necessary include:

  • Severe trauma to the foot caused by an accident (traffic, construction, or sports)
  • Poor blood flow to the limb due to cardiovascular disease or other medical issues
  • Virulent infections that won’t heal and that may result in gangrene at the site
  • Malignant tumors of the foot or ankle that are in danger of metastasizing  
  • Severe burns or frostbite that has destroyed muscle and nerve tissue
  • Total loss of function to the affected limb
  • Loss of sensation to the limb that makes it vulnerable to injury

Amputation Is Never Undertaken Lightly Since the Surgery and Its Aftermath Are Risky

No right-minded podiatrist, no matter how well-trained, would attempt to amputate a foot without proving that no other methods of treatment would keep the patient alive, healthy, and at least moderately functional. Certainly, any reasonable podiatrist would refer the patient for a second opinion before taking such extreme action.

Risks During the Amputation Procedure

All surgical procedures involve some element of risk. For patients undergoing foot amputation, there are the risks typical of all surgeries: excessive bleeding, breathing problems, allergies to anesthesia or other medications or substances, and blood clots that may travel to the lungs.

Difficulties Possible (or Probable) After Amputation Surgery

As you may imagine, amputation is not an easy operation for the podiatrist or the patient. Patients may experience:

  • Loss of range of motion in the joint closest to the amputation (i.e. joint contracture)
  • Inability of the amputation wound to heal 
  • Serious resulting infection of the skin or bone 
  • Phantom sensation/phantom pain in the absent foot

Although not everyone develops phantom limb syndrome, studies by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have found this problem in 60 to 80 percent of amputees.

When Amputation May Be Evidence of Malpractice

In order for the foot amputation your podiatrist performed on you to be ruled podiatry malpractice, our talented podiatry malpractice attorney, Lawrence M. Karam, must be able to prove that your doctor was negligent or reckless in proceeding with the surgery. The following are examples that show evidence of podiatry malpractice leading to, or resulting from, amputation:

  • Compartment syndrome caused by misapplication of a cast, resulting in pain, pale skin tone, numbness, paralysis — evidence of serious permanent damage that requires amputation
  • Failure to diagnose and treat a foot ulcer properly so that the infection greatly worsens
  • Operation on the wrong limb or damages to the limb above the amputation site during surgery
  • Failing to take into account pre-existing conditions (e.g. diabetes, cardiovascular disease) when recommending and performing amputation
  • Failing to pay full attention to the patient’s medical history, such as previous allergies to  particular types of anesthesia or medication that may have lead to permanent disability or wrongful death

Proving Medical Malpractice

If you believe that you are a victim of a preventable amputation, call Dental & Podiatry Malpractice of New York today. If your podiatrist deviated from the standard of care, he or she may have committed malpractice in which case our outstanding litigation will fight vigorously on your behalf. You will be charged no attorneys’ fees unless we win you the damages you are entitled to receive.

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.