The increase of medical care availability has also caused an increase in the number of prescription medications prescribed to people after surgery or an accident. Those recovering from painful injuries will often be prescribed analgesics or pain medications. Some of these medications are narcotic, or opioid, in nature, and are effective in reducing pain and causing addiction in the patients who use them. Through the overprescribing of a particular type of opioid, many patients have accidentally overdosed.
Narcotic pain medications are made from opium, the natural ingredient of heroin. Both of these substances are highly addictive. Morphine, codeine, and major synthetic opioids (such as Percocet, Vicodin, and oxycodone) can all cause addiction in about 4.5% of patients who use them. The percentage is relatively small, but it is enough to give doctors pause if they suspect a patient might be one of that number. For example, your medical history may show a previous history of overdose for using a particular controlled substance. If your doctor doesn’t check your history, or overlooks its potential for harm, and prescribes you a narcotic drug anyway, you could sue them for medical malpractice.
Medical malpractice is usually defined as negligence that directly results in the harm of a patient. However, the negligence must be something no other doctor faced with that situation would repeat. All doctors are required to exercise reasonable care with your history and medical records; however, if you don’t give them all the information necessary to make a good medical decision, and they failed to do so, they might not be responsible for the results.
In order to sue for medical malpractice, you and your attorney need to prove that the physician was negligent. Your lawyer will help you do this by consulting your medical history, use medical textbooks and medical literature detailing how your condition should have been treated, and consult with an expert in the same field.
In one case, a mother in Philadelphia won a wrongful death suit against a family doctor and psychiatrist who overprescribed a deadly mix of narcotic drugs. Though the doctor claimed to be certified in pain management, he was not. The doctor prescribed large amounts of narcotics to treat the woman’s son for pain after a car accident. Instead of trying to diagnose the source of the pain, both the doctor and a psychiatrist the son visited for his depression, prescribed narcotic drugs that all were known to suppress the respiratory system. The amount increased in dosage, amount, strength, and frequency until the son died as a result. The psychiatrist in the case never checked the patient’s medical records for current medications, though he was told the patient was being treated by several other medical professionals. Both physicians also ignored the signs of serious side effects, such as weight gain and fluid retention.
This is quite an extreme case of medical malpractice, but the woman’s legal representative was able to easily demonstrate both doctor’s careless and outrageous behavior with regard to her son’s health and wellness.
If you or a loved one was harmed by the overprescribing of opioid medication, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Our skilled Corpus Christi personal injury attorneys are here to help. We can thoroughly review your case and give you an outline of your legal options. The lawyers here at Gowan Elizondo LLP have years of experience helping the victims of negligence recover compensation for the harm done to them. Let us see what we can do for you.
Contact us at (866) 833-0088 or fill out our online form to schedule a free case consultation with us today. We look forward to speaking with you.