If you have suffered an injury or worsened condition that you believe was the result of a podiatrist’s negligence, you should contact a highly qualified podiatry malpractice attorney. Medical malpractice laws are complicated to begin with and medical malpractice can be difficult to prove. It is essential, therefore, that when dealing with this particular type of investigation and possible lawsuit you use an attorney who has not only an in-depth understanding of medical malpractice law, but a strong familiarity with the podiatry profession. This is because podiatric malpractice is defined as “negligence by a podiatrist,” “a deviation from accepted podiatric standards of care.” Only an attorney who has experience in this particular field is likely to be able to distinguish between a mistake and a “deviation” that was the cause of your personal injury.
How the Law Distinguishes Between Mistakes and Malpractice
Everyone, including podiatrists, makes mistakes. Podiatry malpractice is distinguished by the fact that the podiatrist did not simply make a mistake but was negligent in his or her care of the patient, providing substandard care, that is care that a similarly educated, skilled and responsible doctor would not engage in or deem acceptable. In order to prove podiatry malpractice, you must have a medical expert confirm that the podiatrist in question did not live up the acceptable medical norm and that the doctor’s action or inaction was the cause of your injury. For this reason, it is extremely important to have access to any and all medical data, including before and after diagnostic images pertaining to the treatment or procedure.
In some podiatry malpractice cases, a jury finding of liability on the podiatrist may be obvious. These are typically cases in which the podiatrist was way beyond the pale of acceptable behavior. The doctor may, for example, have performed surgery while impaired by alcohol or drugs, unquestionably a reckless act. In cases like this, your podiatry malpractice attorney is not only likely to win you the compensation you deserve for further medical costs, loss of income, and pain and suffering.
Examples of Podiatry Malpractice
Following are several examples of “mistakes” that rise to the level of malpractice both because they demonstrate careless, unprofessional actions and because they have caused substantial harm to the patient:
- Improper diagnosis that allows a malignancy on the foot to grow and metastasize
- Harmful treatment because the doctor failed to take an exhaustive patient history and therefore was unaware of dangerous drug interactions
- Failure to advise the patient of serious risks associated with a particular treatment, especially surgery (i.e. absence of adequate consent)
- Unacceptable errors during a surgical procedure, such as severing a nerve or removing the wrong toe
- Failure to provide appropriate postoperative care (e.g. failing to tape or brace a surgical repair) , resulting in further damage to the affected area
- Failure to refer a patient to the appropriate specialist when an underlying condition is (or should be) suspected (e.g. failing to notice evidence of diabetes, poor circulation, or some other problem that makes surgery far riskier than it would otherwise be)
To be certain you have enough evidence to file a viable lawsuit for podiatry malpractice, it is best to consult with a savvy podiatry malpractice attorney as soon as you become aware that something is wrong.