Can I do anything about a doctor or physical therapy when I feel like they have caused my pain in my foot?

I had surgery back in May to have a knot removed from the bottom of my foot. The
doctor I used removed the knot and had me walking on my foot that day and because
of the way she had me walking on it caused a stress fracture. After 6 weeks of
being in a walking boot she sent me to physical therapy which I feel has made my
foot worse than when I went to the doctor in the first place. I have had to get a
second opinion from another doctor and he said that my nerves are functioning in
my foot and causing me the pain, swelling, numbness and tingling that I am
experiencing. Is there anything that I can do?

Asked on November 1, 2017 under Malpractice Law, South Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The issue is not whether or not you "feel" that the doctor or physical therapist caused your pain--it's whether there is medical evidence (e.g. an opinion of some other physician who has examined or treated you) that either the doctor or therapist was negligent, or unreasonably careless, or otherwise deviated from accepted treatement standards. The law accepts that the practice of medicine is not perfect and good outcomes are not guaranteed; a doctor, etc. could do what any other competent, careful doctor would do and the patient may still suffer some problem. Medical care providers are only liable (financially responsible for pain, costs, injuries, etc.) if they were careless in some way. And unless you are a doctor yourself, with training or experience in this area, your opinion or feelings are irrelevant: only a medical expert can determine if care was negligent. 
If there is some reason to think that the care was defective--for example, the medical literature out there says that a doctor should not have had you walking the same day after this type of surgery--then you may have a malpractice case and should consult with a malpractice attorney to see what it may be worth. But you need to have some medical basis for thinking the care was defective, not just the fact that you had problems after it.

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