July 1, 2012

A podiatrist who practices outside of Oregon has seen more than his share of lawsuits. Of the 21 total claims during his long career, 11 were filed in the last three years. At the moment, he is fighting eightmedical malpractice suits and one wrongful death suit. Even for a doctor who performs 600 surgeries a year, nine suits at once is almost unheard of, according to one long-time litigator.

The patients’ stories are terrifying. One woman went to this doctor with a broken ankle. He operated four times over five years without success. Amputation below the knee was the only option left by 2011. “It changes everything” she said.

Another woman agreed to surgery — recommended by this podiatrist — to treat heel spurs. Eight surgeries over three years failed; in 2010, her leg was amputated below the knee. Before the surgery, she was an active grandmother with some pain, she said. Now, she has a prosthetic lower leg, uses a walker and a wheelchair and can’t manage normal activities much less playing with the grandkids.

Several of the lawsuits include the hospital where the surgeries were performed and its parent company as defendants. The company stands by its credentialing practices. Still, the podiatrist no longer performs surgeries at the hospital; he resigned his privileges six months ago after 26 years of practicing there. He also severed ties with another hospital owned by the same parent company; he had been affiliated with that facility for more than 30 years.

What gives? We’ll get into that in our next post.

Source: The Columbus Dispatch, “Hilliard podiatrist facing 8 malpractice lawsuits,” Courtney Hergesheimer, July 9, 2012


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