1. Welcome to the Foot Health Forum community where you can ask about foot problems and get help, as well as be up-to-date with the latest foot health information. Only registered members can ask a question, but you do not need to register to respond and give help. Please become part of the community (here) and check out the shop.

What is Reasonable to expect from a Podiatric Surgeon?

Discussion in 'Ask your questions here' started by FootDoc, Jun 6, 2010.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. FootDoc

    FootDoc New Member


    In the years during which I have attempted to provide reasonable and accurate information to those who avail themselves of this forum, I have come to be rather aghast as to how many patients are apparently treated by their doctors and how those patients seem to tolerate it, perhaps even expect it, and curiously sometimes laud their doctors, even as they ask questions here which should be answered often only by those doctors.

    Although it is certainly not uncommon for a podiatric surgeon to be call upon to perform time-sensitive emergency surgery, the vast number of podiatric surgical procedures, as well as all types of surgical procedures for that matter are not emergencies. So what is it reasonable for the podiatric patient to experience from his/her doctor when non-emergency surgery is recommended?

    First of all, the patient deserves a clear diagnosis and at least a reasonable detailing of what the recommended surgery is intended to do to resolve it. If either is still unclear to the patient, either due to non-understanding of terminology or of the intended procedures, it is the patient's responsibility and duty to him/herself to have the doctor clarify as many times as it is necessary in order to achieve that result. The doctor should indicate the anticipated extent and period of post-operative disability, especially in terms of work and the return to normal activities to which the patient commonly subjects the feet and if external fixation devices and/or crutches or special appliances will be necessary. The doctor should indicate the relative success/failure rate of the proposed surgery in HIS/HER hands and the common possible side effect and complications. If there is a question of complications arising from known medical problems or appropriateness of surgery due to such problems, the doctor him/herself should contact the patient's primary or specialty care physician to discuss the matter.

    Having done all that and answered the patients initial questions, I recall the patient several days prior to the procedure, having instructed them to bring all their outstanding questions with them, and I review the diagnosis, the anticipated procedure, the relative success/failure rate in MY hands, but that no guarantee can be offered other than that they will receive my best efforts, the risk and side effect and the commonly seen complications, and my anticipation of what the post-operative period will entail. I encourage the asking of any additional questions and discussion of concerns, and then I PERSONALLY have them sign an informed consent statement, making certain that they read it carefully and that all of their questions have been answered before they sign.

    None of this guarantees a satisfactory result, but it does offer reasonable assurance that they will not have to go on to a forum such as this and obtain answer which I should be the one to give or should have given them. MY patients know where to receive case-sensitive information. Do YOU?

    Be your own advocate and make sure you understand what you are getting into. What is done in surgery often cannot be reversed. Don't wait to ask your questions when it is too late.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page