Although it may seem obvious, foot surgery, also commonly referred to as podiatric surgery, is a medical procedure that is performed on an individual’s foot. A person may require foot surgery performed by a doctor that specializes in foot conditions, also known as a podiatrist, for a variety of different medical issues.
For instance, the following situations may require the intervention of a podiatric surgeon:
- The treatment of warts, bunions, blisters, ingrown toenails, or calluses;
- The treatment of a severe infection to the foot or nail area;
- The treatment of issues regarding the heel, such as severe pain or spurs;
- Treatment for pain in the foot related to arthritis or neuromas;
- Treatment for foot injuries suffered as the result of an accident or injury, including fractures or torn ligaments;
- Treatment for skin or nail diseases present on a foot;
- Treatment for lacerations or other wounds to the foot that may require surgery; and/or
- Surgical amputation and foot prosthetics.
A doctor will typically first try and diagnose and provide treatment to a foot injury without having to perform surgery. For example, if an individual has a foot infection that may be treated with a round of antibiotics or other non-invasive treatments, then a foot doctor may simply prescribe them medication to treat their infection. However, when a foot condition does not respond to non-invasive treatment, then a podiatric surgeon may be utilized to perform surgery on the injured area.
Surgery of the foot is typically the last option utilized by doctors and podiatrists to correct a condition regarding the foot, but will be utilized in order to alleviate pain or restore function in a person’s foot if non-invasive procedures are ineffective. Generally, a person will require a lengthy recovery after requiring foot surgery and have orders to not utilize the foot that was operated on for several weeks.
Are There Different Types of Foot Surgery?
As mentioned above, when non-invasive medical treatment is not sufficient to treat a foot illness or injury, foot surgery may be required. There are numerous different medical conditions that may lead to a foot surgery listed above.
As such, there are numerous different types of foot surgery that may be performed on an individual, including but not limited to:
- Fusion surgery that is performed to remove cartilage from a joint and fuse two or more bones together to prevent them from moving;
- Metatarsal surgery, which is a surgery that is done to redistribute weight on the ball of a person’s foot;
- Tendon surgery which is surgery performed to correct acute injuries, such as ruptures or to change the length of a tendon;
- Hammer toe surgery, which is surgery performed to remove a portion of a person’s toe bone to realign the toe;
- Bunion surgery which is performed to remove the bunion;
- Reconstructive surgery that is performed to repair function or regain stability;
- Heel surgery which is performed to provide pain relief and restore mobility;
- Neuroma surgery which is performed to remove a benign tumor on a person’s nerve in the foot; and/or
- Surgeries related to amputation and installation of prosthetics.
Can Medical Malpractice Happen During a Foot Surgery?
Similar to every other medical surgery, medical malpractice may happen during a foot surgery. Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, such as a podiatric surgeon or other medical professional, and/or healthcare organization falls below the standard duty of care that is required of them when they are managing, diagnosing, and/or treating a patient.
It is important to note that the deviation from the standard duty of care must result in an injury to be considered medical malpractice. The deviation from the standard duty of care that is required of all medical professionals is generally the result of an act of negligence.
Medical malpractice law is the set of laws that allow an injured patient to bring a legal claim against a negligent medical professional. Medical malpractice laws also allow patients to recover damages for the harms that were caused by the professional’s substandard conduct.
For example, in a botched bunion surgery where the surgeon falls below their duty of care and causes further injury to a patient’s ability to have normal function in their foot may result in a medical malpractice suit. However, the patient will need to prove all of the elements necessary to be successful in their medical malpractice claim.
How Can I Prove Medical Malpractice Happened in My Foot Surgery?
As mentioned above, if an individual’s podiatric surgeon or other medical professional or facility fell below their standard of care, and the individual was harmed during a foot surgery, they may be able to hold the party responsible for their injuries civilly liable.
However, in order to succeed in a medical malpractice lawsuit, the individual must prove all of the necessary elements to demonstrate that the person that harmed them committed medical malpractice.
Before medical malpractice can be established, a plaintiff (i.e. the injured party) must be able to prove all of the following:
- That the medical professional owed the patient a duty of care to act reasonably and under the medical standard of care in overseeing the patient’s health, such as when diagnosing and treating;
- That the medical professional failed to meet the proper standard of care, i.e. their duty, because they were negligent in managing some aspect of the patient’s health.
- In short, the surgeon breached the duty of care that they owed to that patient;
- That the medical professional’s negligent conduct was the actual and proximate cause of the patient’s injury; and
- The injury suffered by the patient resulted in quantifiable and measurable damages.
It is important to note that there are many parties that may be liable for a patient’s surgical injury. For example, a plaintiff may want to sue a surgeon, another member of the medical staff, or even the medical facility. Additionally, if the malpractice lawsuit is specifically filed against an organization or its clerical staff, it must be shown that the medical staff was either trained and/or supervised negligently.
Examples of items that a person injury in a foot surgery may want to submit as evidence in order to support their malpractice claim include:
- Medical records that outline the surgical foot procedure performed on the plaintiff;
- Receipts for medical expenses incurred by the party that received the foot surgery, including medical expenses related to correcting any surgical error;
- Documents that caused a misdiagnosis or mistreatment to occur, such as surgery performed on the wrong foot; and
- Costs associated with their injury, such as additional hospital bills to remedy a surgeon’s mistake, etc.
It is important to note that when submitting and arguing a medical malpractice case, an expert witness is often required in order to show that the podiatric surgeon or other medical professional fell below their duty of care. This is because the court will need to hear evidence as to what the standard duty of care in that specific field is. As such, medical malpractice suits may be costly.
Should I Contact an Attorney about My Surgical Injury?
If you have been harmed as a result of a botched or otherwise wrongfully performed foot surgery, it is in your best interests to contact an experienced personal injury attorney immediately. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to help you understand your legal rights and options according to your state’s specific medical malpractice laws.
Additionally, an attorney will also be able to help you determine the party responsible for your injury, and initiate a civil lawsuit against them on your behalf. Finally, an attorney will also be able to represent you in court, as needed.