Medical specialists like podiatrists exist because the lower legs and feet are very complex parts of the human body. Moreover, foot injuries and pain is so common the medical profession needs specialists focusing only on this part of the body; dedicated professionals.
Experienced Hudson Valley Medical Malpractice attorneys know that even specialists make mistakes. Not just any mistake, but one that can cause preventable and foreseeable injury to the patient.
Plantar faciatis, Achilles tendonitis, foot arthritis, bunions, foot problems related to diabetes, gout, flat feet, Haglund’s deformity, heel fissuring, foot ulcers, and foot deformities among others are the types of foot issues treated by podiatrists.
Podiatrists can commit medical malpractice in one or more ways when treating patients who suffer from foot pain. The podiatrist may fail to diagnose the patient. Patients who are not diagnosed timely suffer longer than they should have and their condition can worsen to the point that he or she will never fully recover. Patients injured this way can receive compensation for their continued pain and diminished capacity.
In addition to a complete failure to diagnose a patient, podiatrists can and have misdiagnosed a patient. A misdiagnosis is just like it sounds; the patient was diagnosed with X disease, but he or she actually has Y disease. This causes two distinct issues for the patient. First, the true medical ailment is going untreated and possibly getting worse. Second, the patient is receiving unnecessary treatment. Therefore, the patient is losing money to medical bills, losing unnecessary time from work, continuing to suffer in pain, and is physically degenerating.
Even if the diagnosis is proper, a podiatrist can still commit malpractice if he or she does not treat the patient properly. Podiatrists must not deviate from the standard of care owed to the patient. If he or she does, then there has been a negligent act. Whether or not there has been a deviation will depend upon the circumstances that surround the patient’s case. Another podiatrist, expert in the field, will be asked if he or she would have committed the deviation that the offending doctor committed. If the expert answers in the negative, a jury can decide that the treating podiatrist was negligent.
If the deviation caused the patient’s injury and damages, then the jury can award compensatory damages and or punitive damages.
Punitive damages are rarely awarded and only mentioned here to inform you that such exists. This type of damages punishes a defendant for particularly egregious behavior.
Compensatory damages are what the injured patient will most likely receive. They compensate the victim for pain and suffering, lost physical ability, lost income, lost earning potential, medical costs, and rehabilitation costs.
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