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Claims in foot/ankle surgery- What should you do?



Claims in foot/ankle surgery

Surgical procedures do not always turn out to be the way they should be and the damages caused due to the patient can be life-threatening and might cause loss of enjoyment of life. Our foot and ankle are the important organs of our body that help in walking and running. So any kind of injury to your ankle and foot can have devastating impacts. Surgical treatment will be advised only when the other non-surgical treatments fail to improve your condition. There are several conditions that might affect your ankle and foot. Though most of them don’t require surgery some critical cases may necessitate surgical treatments. Your orthopedic surgeon will ask you for surgery if:

  • There are pain and inflammation
  • Non-surgical treatments fail to respond. This includes over-the-counter medications, physiotherapies, and orthotics.
  • Mobility and function gets affected on a serious level

Some other conditions that require surgery are- fractures, arthritis, Achilles tendon tear, and toe deformities. Foot surgeries are considered safe but sometimes it becomes necessary for improving the patient’s health. But there might be instances when the conditions can get worse after surgery. This happens when the surgeon fails to provide an adequate level of care or their treatment falls below the accepted medical standards. Patients who have suffered losses or damages can file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the surgeon and get compensation with the help of a legal representative and an orthopedic expert witness.

What is medical malpractice and when can you hold a surgeon accountable for their acts?

Medical malpractice takes place when the patient sustains injuries as a result of the negligence of the doctor, medical professional, and other healthcare officials by deviating from the accepted standards of medical care. In foot or ankle surgery, malpractices might take place due to negligence by the doctor. Medical malpractices might happen in one of the following manner/manners.

Before surgery

There’s a process that both patients and surgeons go through before finally sending the patient to the operation theatre. It’s the duty of the surgeon to get informed consent from the patient- meaning to say that the patient should orally and in writing gives their approval to the doctor to perform the surgery. Before that, the surgeon must explain the procedure, get all the previous medical history of the patient, and finally should explain the pros and cons of getting the surgery. If the patient gives their approval, then the surgeon can go ahead. But if these procedures are not followed, the patient can bring a medical negligence claim against the surgeon.

During surgery

Errors that might happen during the surgery include- cutting the wrong organ, injuring nerves during surgery, leaving a foreign object inside the patient’s body like instruments or sponges, performing incisions at the wrong site, anesthesia errors, and others. Consider talking to an experienced attorney if you face these injuries during surgery.

After surgery

Providing adequate care after surgery is very important at all stages of surgery. After the operation is done, the doctor should keep the patient under observation and should provide antibiotics or other medications to reduce pain and inflammation. Careful medical care after surgery is important to ensure the speedy and healthy recovery of the patient. Sometimes the patients are discharged too early after surgery that results in worsening of the condition. Medical practitioners may have to face the heat of the court if adequate care is not given!

If you’ve been a victim of foot and ankle surgery malpractice, you should immediately seek legal help to get your deserving compensation.

Retaining orthopedic expert witnesses for foot and ankle surgery:

Once you’ve contacted a lawyer, they’ll try to determine if there is a case of malpractice. Just because the outcome was not in your favor, does not mean that the surgeon is at fault. It is at this stage where an orthopedic surgeon expert witness is retained by the attorney.

These expert witnesses will first go through the case in detail to establish if there has been a case of malpractice. Once it is proved that the surgeon was at fault, the lawsuit will be filed against the surgeon. Moreover, they’ll prepare a written document based on the case findings. This is an important piece of evidence that might be presented to the court. The facts written by the expert witness need to be scientifically correct and clinically proven. Judges are not expected to have the knowledge of medical issues; their opinions play an incredible role. Medical malpractice cases are highly technical and courts usually do not refuse the opinion provided by these experts. At times, it is found that malpractice cases are lost because of not producing these witnesses. Retaining an orthopedic expert witness is important for both parties.

An important thing to note here is that the opinion of these experts is not binding on the court. The main role of an expert witness is to provide all the necessary materials and put forward all the case records with logic and scientifically proven facts so that the jury can decide on the final outcome of the case. In other words, these experts are called to provide evidence but they cannot form their own judgments based on their own observations.

An orthopedic surgery expert witness is called upon to testify and provide deposition services. As it is quite evident that the role of expert witnesses in foot/ankle surgery is highly beneficial, it’s important to retain the best expert witness. They should posses all the qualities- experience, certification, and should have brilliant speaking skills to persuade the decision makers, and lastly, they should have the capability to negate claims put forward by the defense.

Final words-

If you believe that you or your loved ones have been a victim of medical negligence, you should immediately get in touch with an experienced lawyer as they have complete knowledge of the legal procedures. Moreover, they have good channels of network with these expert witnesses required for the case. By retaining a lawyer, you can win the case and get your deserving compensation!

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