Foot specialist cautioned after wrong diagnosis
PUBLISHED: 11:04 02 October 2006 | UPDATED: 22:16 28 May 2010
A FOOT specialist from March whose incorrect assessment of a 77-year old woman patient led to her suffering an injury when she fell off a treadmill, has been cautioned for 12 months by the Health Professions Council (HPC). However, despite the finding th
A FOOT specialist from March whose incorrect assessment of a 77-year old woman patient led to her suffering an injury when she fell off a treadmill, has been cautioned for 12 months by the Health Professions Council (HPC).
However, despite the finding the HPC says that the case was not one that involved "widespread incompetence."
In a decision just published the HPC says that the hearing before its Conduct and Competence Committee was told in the case against podiatrist Sarah Jane Hooper of the March Podiatry Practice, Station Road, March, was told that the patient suffered a broken bone in her right foot.
Ms Hooper was found to have incorrectly assessed the patient on 26 May 2005. This was said to have led to the injury which occurred at her clinic.
The panel was told that the patient - identified only as Mrs P - was injured by falling off a treadmill during a video gait analysis assessment arranged by Ms Hooper. In addition to the broken bone Mrs P also suffered a cut shin.
In its decision the panel found that Mrs P was unable to give informed consent to the form of assessment undertaken because she did not understand what was involved by being put on a powered treadmill.
The panel said the crux of the problem was the lack of an adequate assessment which involved the absence of adequate data gathering, and analysis of that data.
"In particular, from her own patient notes Ms Hooper was told that Mrs P could not lift her right leg and had lost feeling in her right foot," say the findings.
"Further, in evidence Ms Hooper stated that she appreciated that Mrs P could not walk without the use of a walking stick.
"In these circumstances a competent assessment should, as a minimum, have included a full neurological assessment. Such an assessment should have preceded a treadmill based gait analysis, and would have made clear to Miss Hooper the inappropriateness of such a test.
"Therefore, the panel, considers Ms Hooper fell below the standard reasonably to be expected of her."
However, the panel said that the case was "not one of widespread incompetence" the said it took the view it was an "isolated incident involving a lack of proper professional judgment.