State of Oregon
I had bunion surgery in September of 2004. Two weeks later the podiatrist removed the stitches. The next day I noticed the incision had come open at the base of my big toe. I called the podiatrist's office and was told to put butterfly bandages on the area until my next scheduled appointment a few days later. The podiatrist restitched that area of the incision and put me on oral antibiotics for two weeks as a precaution. I then saw the podiatrist on a weekly basis. After several weeks the doctor said my foot looked infected and prescribed Augmentin. Two days later my husband insisted on taking me to the emergency room and I was admitted to the hospital and put on IV Vancomycin immediately. The podiatrist then had to perform a second surgery the next day to remove all the hardware from my foot. Infectious disease doctors were called in to consult on my treatment. I was in the hospital for a week on a Vancomycin drip and then four weeks on home infusion Vancomycin. For seven weeks I was not allowed to be weight bearing on my foot.
Then the culture taken from my foot showed that the infection was caused Mycobacterium Chelonae. This particular bacteria is resistent to most antibiotics. The infectious disease doctors changed my home infusion to 14 days of Tobramycin. I was also prescribed oral Biaxin. These two drugs are about the only ones effective against Mycobacterium Chelonae. Many cases of Mycobacterium Chelonae have been associated with non-sterile water or contaminated surgical instruments. The source of the infection appeared to be caused by a wire placed around my toe bone in the first surgery. Due to the infection my toe bone is not growing together where the hardware was removed. The podiatrist prescribed a bone stimulator which I have to wear at least three to six hours daily.
In February my infecton flared up and nodules grew on my incision. The infectious disease doctors placed me on six more weeks of Tobramycin home infusion. Six weeks is the maximum time allowed as Tobramycin can result in hearing loss. I am still taking the Biaxin. It is now 6 months since the original surgery with countless trips to the doctor, two PICC lines and the bone is not healed and the infection is not gone.
Can this be considered malpractice on the podiatrist's part for not recognizing the extent of the infection sooner or perhaps using unsterile insturments?