Surgical procedures on infants often come with high risks. New York medical malpractice law requires doctors to disclose medical risks and perform surgeries under a legally imposed standard of care. Unfortunately, a recent lawsuit alleged that an infant child’s podiatrist failed to disclose risks to the patient’s mother related to a foot surgery, and the surgery was performed negligently.In this case, a Brooklyn-based podiatrist performed a surgical procedure on the right foot of the plaintiff, who was an infant at the time of the surgery. The surgery was performed because the podiatrist believed that the plaintiff had a rupture of the extensor hallucis longus tendon. The plaintiff alleged that as a result of the surgery, she has constant pain and limited movement of her right big toe. Moreover, the plaintiff alleged that the surgery was unnecessary, and it actually aggravated the plaintiff’s condition. The plaintiff also brought a cause of action for lack of informed consent.
Under New York law, a claim for podiatry malpractice requires proof of (i) a departure from the accepted standard of practice among podiatric specialists and (ii) sufficient proof that such a departure caused the injury to the plaintiff.
Although the trial court granted summary judgment for the defendants, the appeals court revived the plaintiff’s malpractice claim. The panel of judges agreed that there was an issue of fact as to whether the proper testing had been conducted prior to the operation. The appeals court reiterated that the defendants’ expert affidavit was merely conclusory and therefore did not meet the standard required to win on summary judgment. Specifically, the defendants’ expert affidavit did not address whether they failed to perform pre-operative testing on the plaintiff. The plaintiff’s complaint asserted that the defendants had failed to determine whether she had the circulation required to heal properly from the surgery.