Podiatric malpractice claims tend to be difficult claims because the specialty underwriters that insure these losses hire experienced defense counsel who cover a broad geographic area and therefore have considerable experience.
Podiatric malpractice cases are frequently difficult cases because they are well defended by seasoned podiatric defense lawyers that are retained by specialty insurers. These specially insurers recognize the vagaries of podiatric malpractice cases and therefore frequently hire defense counsel to cover a significant geographical area.
In addition, there is significant inconsistency from state to state as to the training of podiatrists and also the scope of practice they are allowed to engage in.
In looking at a potential podiatric malpractice case, there are several things to consider:
-Establish whether the doctor served a residency, the type of residency, how long it was and the type of surgical cases that he undertook.
-Determine what are the hospital privileges that are accorded to the specific podiatrist. They may differ dramatically from physician to physician. If the podiatrist exceeds the scope of those privileges, then that may serve as an opening for a plaintiff.
-Determine the scope of podiatry practice that is allowed in that state. In general, podiatrists are considered to be limited-license practitioners. The scope of the practice allowed in that state then needs to be compared with the scope of the practice that was allowed in the state where the podiatrist was trained. It may be that the podiatrist was trained in a state where the scope of practice is very limited and then the podiatrist moves to a state where the scope of practice is much broader and he deals with areas for which he was not trained.
-Board certification is typically through the American Board of Podiatric Surgery. There are other certifiying Boards that are competitors. You need to know whether the podiatrist has failed the ABPS certification exam and does he meet the criteria for certification by that entity.
-Is the podiatrist certified in surgery or simply primary podiatric medicine?
-Was the podiatrist certified by actual examination and testing or simply as a result of grandfathering?
-If the procedure in question was an in-office procedure, is the office adequately equipped to deal with surgical emergencies and also to combat infection.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brien Roche
Brien Roche has been practicing in the Northern Virginia and Washington, DC area since 1976.
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.