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New York Court Discusses Appropriate Treatment in a Medical Malpractice Case Involving Amputation

Typically, disorders involving the feet are not life-threatening and do not require emergent care. Foot conditions can cause pain and difficulty walking, however, and in some instances necessitate surgical treatment. Podiatrists, like all other healthcare providers, must comply with the applicable standard of care, and if they deviate from the standard and their patients subsequently suffer harm, it may constitute grounds for pursuing medical malpractice claims against them. Recently, a New York court discussed what constitutes appropriate treatment for bunions, in a matter in which the plaintiff asserted medical malpractice claims against the defendant after he amputated her second toes. If you suffered harm due to the negligence of your podiatrist, you may be able to recover damages, and it is in your best interest to speak to a Rochester medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.

The Plaintiff’s Treatment

It is alleged that the plaintiff went to the defendant podiatrist for treatment of bunions and crossover abnormalities involving the great and second toes on both feet, which caused her discomfort and prevented her from wearing most shoes. Defendant offered numerous treatment options, including forefoot reconstruction surgery, amputation of the second toes, and bunion shaving. The plaintiff chose amputation and bunion shaving in part because the defendant represented it required significantly less recuperation time than reconstructive surgery.

Reportedly, the plaintiff underwent the procedure without complication but continued to experience discomfort. She then sought care from two other podiatrists, who advise her that amputation was not an appropriate treatment for his issues, and caused her to experience difficulty walking, She then filed a malpractice lawsuit against the defendant. The defendant moved for summary judgment but the court denied his motion. He appealed.

The Standard of Care Imposed on Podiatrists

In a podiatric malpractice case, a defendant had the initial burden of proving that they did not depart from accepted standards of practice in the treatment at issue or if they did, that any such deviation was not the proximate cause of any injury. Once a prima facie case is established, plaintiffs have the burden of proving the defendant’s deviation from accepted medical practice and that such alleged deviation was the proximate cause of their harm.

Here, the court explained that the defendant met her burden of proof by submitting the plaintiff’s medical records, expert affidavits, and expert testimony that demonstrated that he followed the accepted standard of care for podiatrists and appropriately considered the patient’s age, activity level, health status, and treatment goals when offering elective amputation as one of the surgical options. In response, however, the plaintiff offered expert testimony showing that amputation was not within the standard of care. As there was a factual dispute regarding what care was appropriate under the standard, the defendant’s motion was properly denied.

Consult a Capable Rochester Attorney

Bunions and other deformities of the foot can cause pain and difficulty walking, but improper treatment for such issues may only worsen a patient’s issues. If you were hurt by a negligent podiatrist, it is smart to consult an attorney. The capable Rochester medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers can advise you of your rights and help you to seek any damages you may be owed from the party responsible for your harm. You can reach us via the online form or by calling at 833-200-2000 to set up a meeting.


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