The Risk of Using Unlicensed Care-givers
Unlawful practice poses a significant and potentially serious risk to the quality of care and safety for the individual patient and the public at large. Members of the public endanger their health by entrusting their care to unauthorized and unregulated providers.
There is no assurance that the unauthorized person has the necessary education and evaluation, and is therefore qualified and competent to practice podiatric medicine; to understand and carry out diagnostic investigations, reach a diagnosis, recommend appropriate treatment and prescribe appropriate medications, and assess the treatment outcome.
There is a significant risk of incorrect diagnosis and inappropriate treatment. Most concerning is the potential for a missed diagnosis – for example a failure to recognize a cancerous lesion – and resulting failure to provide critically needed treatment; a potentially catastrophic situation for the patient.
Another example is the risks posed by laser treatments on the feet, for conditions such as fungus, warts, moles and neuromas. Unregulated persons are not legally permitted to perform these tasks; yet many spas offer these services. They present a particular risk to diabetic patients who cannot feel the heat and are at enhanced risk of severe burns.
There is an enhanced risk of exposure to pathogens, and therefore serious infection. The patient has no assurance that the materials and equipment used in their care and treatment have been cleaned and processed to the standards of cleanliness and sterility that are required by the College.
With unlicensed purveyors, there is no accountability to a governing regulatory body who has statutory powers to set and enforce practice and equipment standards, and to investigate complaints and intervene in situations of poor or unsatisfactory treatment or outcomes to prevent a recurrence.