Podiatric Malpractice and Bone Infections

What complications can arise from bone infections caused by foot surgery?

Foot or podiatric surgery is typically thought of as a relatively minor process. While most foot surgeries will involve an outpatient procedure and a fairly quick recovery time, sometimes podiatric surgeries go horribly wrong. One recognized complication of podiatric surgery is osteomyelitis or an infection of the bone. This serious complication can result in severe illness and even death. Our New York podiatric malpractice lawyers discuss osteomyelitis and how it could give rise to a podiatric malpractice action.

What causes osteomyelitis?

Osteomyelitis is an infection in the bone. Bones can either become infected when an infection in one part of the bloodstream spreads to the bone or when surgery exposes the bone to infection. When osteomyelitis occurs after podiatric surgery, it is usually because the bone has been exposed to infection. Osteomyelitis is most often caused by Staphylococcus aureus, which is a type of staph bacteria. Staph bacteria can be introduced into the body by unclean surgical instruments or an unsanitary surgical environment, improper cleaning procedures after the surgery, and other conditions that expose the foot to outside bacteria.

Certain patients, like those with diabetes, are more at risk for osteomyelitis. Nearly any type of foot surgery could give rise to a bone infection, as these surgeries involve making an incision in the foot. Even bunion surgery, which is likely the most common type of foot surgery, has been known to cause fatal osteomyelitis.

Given the relative rarity of bone infections after podiatric surgery, many podiatrists fail to recognize this serious complication. Podiatric patients should be well aware of the signs of osteomyelitis, which include tenderness and redness of the area, swelling around the bone, fever, fatigue, nausea, and loss of range of motion. Osteomyelitis tends to develop quickly and can become life-threatening in just days. It requires prompt treatment with targeted antibiotics. Any recent surgical patient who presents with signs of infection will need to be immediately evaluated and quickly treated should osteomyelitis be uncovered.

If you contracted osteomyelitis following foot surgery, the physician who performed the surgery or handled your follow up care could be held accountable. If your condition was caused by negligent surgical procedures or occurred as a result of delayed diagnosis and treatment of osteomyelitis, you may have a viable medical malpractice action against the negligent physician in charge of your care. 

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.