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New York Court Discusses Standard of Care for Treatment Outside of the Scope of a Doctor’s Specialty

While many malpractice cases arise out of incompetent care within a doctor’s specialty, such as the failure to diagnose or a delayed diagnosis, some arise out of harm caused by a doctor practicing outside of the scope of his or her expertise. This was demonstrated in a recent case in which the court discussed the standard of care imposed on a podiatrist that allegedly caused harm by performing a non-FDA approved therapy for Lyme disease on a patient. If you were harmed by an unapproved medical treatment or other negligent care provided by a podiatrist, it is advisable to speak with a seasoned Rochester podiatry malpractice attorney regarding your case.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Treatment

It is reported that the plaintiff saw an advertisement in a magazine in which the defendant podiatrist stated he could treat Lyme disease. The plaintiff subsequently visited the defendant, who routinely stated he could cure non-podiatric issues, for treatment of Lyme disease. The defendant recommended that the plaintiff undergo ozone therapy, which is not an FDA-approved treatment. The plaintiff underwent three ozone therapy sessions. Following the third session, he fell asleep, and when he awoke, he was disoriented and confused. He was taken to a hospital where an examination revealed he had left-sided weakness and paralysis. He was admitted and hospitalized for approximately two weeks.

Allegedly, the plaintiff was evaluated for seizure and stroke but did not receive a definitive diagnosis. Following his discharge from the hospital, the plaintiff was unable to get out of bed for three months. He subsequently filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, alleging that the ozone therapy caused inflammation in his brain, which led to his subsequent symptoms. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, which the trial court granted. The plaintiff then appealed.

Evidence Establishing the Standard of Care

On review, the court noted that the defendant was not treating the plaintiff for a podiatric condition, and therefore was providing treatment that was outside of the medical confines of podiatry, which may be considered professional misconduct. Further, the court noted that the defendant did not produce an expert report, and therefore failed to set forth the standard of care with which he was required to comply in treating Lyme disease. As such, the court found that based on the evidence of record, it could not find as a matter of law that the defendant did not cause the plaintiff’s harm. Instead, the court ordered that a trial must be held on the issue of whether the treatment rendered by the defendant proximately caused the plaintiff to suffer neurological harm.  Thus, the court reversed the trial court ruling.

Meet with a Capable Rochester Malpractice Attorney

If you suffered injuries due to a non-FDA approved treatment or any other incompetent care rendered by a podiatrist, it is advisable to meet with a capable Rochester podiatry malpractice attorney regarding your potential claims and damages. The diligent attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers can assess the circumstances surrounding your harm and assist you in developing compelling arguments in favor of your recovery of compensation. You can contact us at 585-653-7343 or via our online form to schedule a confidential and free meeting.

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