Podiatric Malpractice Lawsuit Revived by NY Appellate Court

Could my podiatrist be liable if he or she did not adequately inform me of the risks of foot surgery?

While any foot surgery can be intimidating, podiatric surgery on infants is particularly frightening for the parents and children involved.  One New York family had the horrific experience of watching their infant suffer constant pain after undergoing a surgical procedure on her foot.  The parents of the infant filed a podiatric malpractice lawsuit against the Brooklyn podiatrist, claiming that the family was not given sufficient information to consent to the surgery.  Initially, the lawsuit was dismissed after the court granted summary judgment to the defendants.  Now, the appellate court has reversed and will allow the case to proceed, holding that a generic consent form does not automatically equate to full disclosure of risks.

Informed Consent in a Medical Malpractice Case

Before performing foot surgery, a podiatrist is legally obligated to obtain the patient, or the minor patient’s parents, informed consent as to what will occur.  Failure to obtain informed consent can lead to a medical malpractice action if the patient suffers harm as a result of the surgery or other foot treatment.  Determining whether a patient provided the requisite level of informed consent can be difficult.

Informed consent is the process by which a doctor provides all the essential information to a patient concerning a proposed procedure, and the patient, with full knowledge, agrees to the surgery.  A podiatrist should inform the patient of the following:

  • A description of the treatment or procedure;
  • The purpose of the procedure;
  • An overview of any risks and potential complications involved with the procedure;
  • An explanation of any alternative treatments for the issue and risks involved with these procedures; and
  • The likelihood of the procedure’s success.

To have a viable medical malpractice claim, you will need to prove more than just that the doctor did not comply with New York’s informed consent requirements.  You will need to further show that a connection exists between the lack of informed consent by the podiatrist and your foot injury.  You may need to prove that with the right information, you would not have consented to the foot surgery or that the harm you suffered was not disclosed as a potential risk to the procedure.  Contact a podiatric malpractice attorney as soon as possible if you believe you have suffered harm due to a podiatric procedure.

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.