Whether they’re evaluating new patients, treating foot-related symptoms of chronic conditions, or performing surgery, podiatrists have legal obligations to meet their duty of care.
This “duty of care” is an important concept for podiatry patients – not only because it helps ensure that they receive a level of care that conforms with accepted standards, but also because it can become critically important should they suffer preventable injuries and pursue medical malpractice lawsuits.
At Brown & Barron, LLC, our award-winning attorneys have extensive experience representing victims in a podiatrist malpractice lawsuits. Knowing the regulations that apply to the podiatry profession and the many ways that podiatrists fail to meet them, we understand how important regulatory standards are to ensuring the health of patients, and how they can play a role in helping injured victims prove malpractice.
What is “Duty of Care” and How Does it Relate to Regulations?
In medical malpractice lawsuits, plaintiffs are tasked with the need to prove that their injuries were caused by a medical provider’s failure to meet the duty of care. Legally, this duty is defined as:
A provider’s duty to treat a patient with the level of skill and competency that would be expected of a reasonably skilled provider in the same field under the same or similar circumstances.
In other words, it means that there are certain standards and expectations that providers (including podiatrists) must meet when treating their patients.
Of course, these standards can be different depending on a variety of factors, such as the patient’s age and medical history, the condition being treated, and numerous other case-specific circumstances. That can present challenges to patients injured by podiatrists, as being able to clearly show what standards weren’t met (and how substandard care caused injury) is critical to a successful lawsuit.
This is where podiatry board regulations come in.
As a baseline of rules and standards, podiatry board regulations outline how podiatrists are expected to conduct themselves and define the best practices they’re obligated to follow. In addition to reducing risks of malpractice and keeping podiatry patients safer, these regulations also serve an invaluable role in helping injured patients identify whether their provider’s care wasn’t up to par and allowing them to potentially use that violation to hold the negligent podiatrist accountable.
It must be noted that while regulatory violations should certainly be investigated in any podiatrist malpractice action, a violation in and of itself doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s a winning case – particularly if the violation was not the cause of injury. The absence of a regulatory violation also doesn’t mean that a provider wasn’t negligent.
However, when violations happen, it can provide attorneys and medical experts who consult on these cases with better insight into a podiatrist’s quality of care overall, and ample reason to dig further into their actions in search of the error or negligence responsible for a patient’s injuries.
Moreover, it can result in further investigation by the podiatry board, which can take various disciplinary actions to penalize providers and protect other patients, depending on the circumstances.
Important Podiatry Board Regulations in Maryland
Like other state medical boards and specialty-specific regulatory boards, the Maryland Board of Podiatric Medical Examiners adopts and sets standards for the practice of podiatry through regulations. These regulations are far-reaching and cover everything from licensing requirements and advertising rules to podiatrist ethics, billing practices, and more.
Regulations found in the Maryland Podiatry Act, as well as the Maryland Medical Practice Act, also set and clarify expectations on best practices or specific medical activities. These are the regulations that can be important when investigating whether podiatrists were negligent. Some examples include regulations related to:
- Prescribing opioids and other prescription medications
- Office-based surgical procedures
- Procedures that must be performed in licensed hospitals
- Surgical services, including pre- and post-operative testing standards
- Sterilization or disinfection of medical devices to avoid preventable infections
- Proper use of anesthesia
- Sexual misconduct
- Documentation and custody of patient medical records
It’s important to understand that regulations and guidelines are different. Regulations, which are backed by the law, represent a minimum standard that podiatrists must follow while guidelines are accepted norms within a profession that should be followed.
When investigating podiatrist malpractice lawsuits and working to build the strongest possible claims, our attorneys at Brown & Barron, LLC pay close attention to any regulatory violations, and any departures from guidelines and other accepted standards of the podiatry profession. To aid us in this endeavor, we work closely with medical experts with podiatric expertise to evaluate the specific actions or inactions of podiatrists and provide valuable testimony that supports our clients’ claims.
Have Questions About a Podiatry Malpractice Claim? We Want to Help.
If you have questions about whether the injuries you sustained were caused by a podiatrist’s substandard care or failure to follow regulations, our team at Brown & Barron, LLC is available to help.
Backed by decades of collective experience, we’ve recovered millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for our clients, including millions for patients harmed by the negligence of doctors and specialists like podiatrists. We know the common causes of podiatrist malpractice and how to help victims seek the maximum compensation possible when settling a podiatrist malpractice case or taking a claim to trial.
To discuss a potential podiatry malpractice claim with a member of our team, call (410) 698-1717 or contact us online. We proudly serve clients across Maryland from our Baltimore office and offer FREE and confidential consultations.