Why has there been an increase in podiatric malpractice cases in recent years?
There has been a dramatic increase in the number of podiatric malpractice cases in the past 25 years. There are several reasons for this increase in litigation, including the rise in financial prosperity and the educational advancement of a large portion of the American public. More financial stability makes for more elective surgery, as does the recent trend toward surgery for cosmetic, as well as medical, reasons. This, coupled with the increasing population, means more and more surgeries are being performed.
In addition, elevated levels of education create more informed patients, patients who are willing to scrutinize their podiatric care more critically than ever before. Add to this the availability of medical data over the internet and you have podiatric patients who are not willing to accept whatever the doctor says as gospel. They may question medical decisions and are open to the possibility that their podiatrist (or other medical professional) has made a serious mistake. If you have been the victim of podiatric malpractice, it is crucial that you engage the services of an attorney who is not only highly qualified, but who specializes in this particular field of law.
According to the Podiatry Insurance Company of America (PICA), a factor that has made podiatrists vulnerable to litigation and pretrial settlement is “poor record-keeping.” It obviously works in the plaintiff’s favor if the podiatrist in the case has sloppy or non-existent documentation.
Not all podiatric malpractice cases involve surgery, but most do. Foot surgery is a complicated process, both because of the many bones in the feet and because of the distance of the feet from the heart, which tends to make healing more difficult. Obviously, the fact that feet are meant to bear the weight of the body also makes recovery from surgery more complex.
There are a number of reasons that patients allege podiatric malpractice. Highest on the list, in terms of percentages are:
- Improper Treatment — 70.45 percent
- Improper Surgical Technique — 56.17 percent
- Lack of Informed Consent — 24.03 percent
- Postsurgical Infection — 20.13 percent
- Pain — 19.81 percent
- Misdiagnosis — 13.31 percent
- Unnecessary Surgery — 12.01 percent
- Poor Result — 6.49 percent
Smaller numbers of patients bring cases of podiatric malpractice based on medication errors, fraud, fee disputes, and breaches of contract. Whichever category of malpractice you have experienced, a skilled attorney in the field of podiatric malpractice will be able to vigorously defending your rights to just compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.