Most people don’t think much about their feet until something goes wrong with them.
I certainly fell into that category until spring break 2018, when I developed Achilles tendinitis after hiking up Pocaya Volcano in Guatemala. The pain was so intense that it felt like an ice pick was getting jammed into the back of my ankle.
After thinking it would get better after a few days, I did some research on what type of doctor I should see to make sure there wasn’t a permanent injury (fortunately there wasn’t). A lot of people do the same thing when they break a foot or ankle, have bunions, diabetic problems of the feet, Achilles tendinitis, claw toe, corns, calluses, foot pain, hammertoes, heel pain, ingrown toenails, neuromas, toenail fungus, or sports injuries of the foot and ankle.
What is a podiatrist?
Picking the right type of physician to see for a foot problem can be challenging. General practice or family practice doctors treat some foot issues. Some orthopedic surgeons handle foot problems. And then there are podiatrists.
I chose a podiatrist.
Podiatrists they have similar training to medical doctors, with the difference that their medical training focuses on diseases and conditions of the feet. Instead of signing their names with an “M.D.,” they do so with a “D.P.M.” designation, which stands for “doctor of podiatric medicine.”
What is podiatric medical malpractice?
Podiatrists can commit medical errors or mistakes and be the subject of a medical malpractice case, just like other health care providers. That’s easy enough to understand, given that they fall within the definition of “health care providers” in Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code Section 74.001.
Like other Texas medical malpractice cases, a plaintiff (patient) must have a medical expert to testify about the standard of care (what should have happened) and how the podiatrist missed the mark.
Next, the expert must explain how the mistake proximately caused harm to the patient. Under Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code Section 74.351(r)(E), either a podiatrist or an otherwise-qualified physician can offer the expert testimony on causation.
I recently met with an experienced Houston, Texas, podiatrist who has served as medical expert in several cases regarding podiatric medical malpractice. We talked about different types of podiatric medical malpractice that we’ve encountered. Here’s a list of the top 10, in no particular order.
(1) Failure to diagnosis and treat diabetic patients appropriately, leading to amputation.
(2) Failure to assess adequate blood circulation prior to elective procedure, which sets up the patient for an increased infection risk, leading to amputation.
(3) Failure to put patients with cellulitis on antibiotics or hospitalize them soon enough.
(4) Failure to follow-up with patients who have in-office ingrown toenail procedures.
(5) Failure to order a vascular work up for patients with weak pulses before doing a procedure.
(6) Failure to order an MRI or bone scan when there’s a suspected infection.
(7) Doing any elective surgery on a patient with uncontrolled diabetes.
(8) Botching a bunionectomy, with technical errors.
(9) Botching an ankle arthroscopy surgery by perforating through the anterior (front of the) ankle, causing nerve and blood vessel damage.
(10) Performing unnecessary surgery for conditions like heel spurs and plantar fasciotomy.
We are here to help
The experienced medical malpractice attorneys know how to pursue a case against a podiatrist under Texas law—including the hoops you have to jump through under tort reform requirements.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured because of poor care by a podiatrist, click here to send us a confidential email via our “Contact Us” form or call us at 281-580-8800.
All consultations are free, and, because we only represent clients on a contingency fee, you will owe us nothing unless we win your case. We handle cases in the Houston area and all over Texas. We are currently working on medical malpractice lawsuits in Houston, The Woodlands, Sugar Land, Conroe, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Bryan/College Station, and Waco.
Robert Painter is a medical malpractice attorney at Painter Law Firm PLLC, in Houston, Texas. He is a former hospital administrator who represents patients and family members in medical negligence and wrongful death lawsuits against hospitals, physicians, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and other healthcare providers. A member of the board of directors of the Houston Bar Association, he was honored, in 2018, by H Texas as one of Houston’s top lawyers. Also, in 2018, the Better Business Bureau recognized Painter Law Firm PLLC with its Award of Distinction.