What are the grounds for a podiatric malpractice lawsuit?
We expect podiatrists and other medical professionals to adhere the highest ethical standards and to fulfill the first obligation of the Hippocratic Oath: first, do no harm. When doctors fail to adhere to these standards, they may be guilty of medical negligence. At times, a doctor’s actions may even run afoul of the law, resulting in a suspension of his or her medical license.
This was the case for a Morris County podiatrist whose license was recently suspended for three years for repeatedly writing improper prescriptions for a wide range of pain killers. The New Jersey Attorney General charged that by treating patients for ailments unrelated to podiatry, the doctor’s actions were negligent and amounted to malpractice.
The doctor practiced in various locations throughout Morris County. Between 2009 and 2015, he allegedly treated as many as 15 patients for numerous aliments unrelated to podiatry, including spinal-cord injuries, sleep disorders, and depression, among others. The state claimed he endangered patients by prescribing the pain meds outside the scope of his practice, without proper documentation or for good cause. Among the drugs he prescribed were Percocet, Xanax, Adderall, methadone, even testosterone and cough syrup with codeine.
The doctor entered into consent order with the State Board agreeing to the three-year license suspension and a permanent ban of his prescribing privileges. He is also required to wait at least 18 months before applying for reinstatement of his medical license, complete a course on professional ethics, pass a skills evaluation, and prove that he is fit to resume his practice. Lastly, he was ordered to pay the state $50,000 for legal costs.
In the end, this case demonstrates that the doctor violated the standards of care by treating patients outside the scope of his license and indiscriminately prescribing pain medications. In some ways, his actions may amount to medical malpractice, but it remains to be seen if any claims will be brought. In order to have a valid claim, it is necessary to show that a doctor deviated from the appropriate standard of care. If you believe you have been the victim of podiatric malpractice, an attorney can help you obtain meaningful compensation.