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Doctors Are Fatally Overprescribing Opioids

It’s National Safety Month, so we want to help people become aware of one of the more insidious dangerous out there. One of these dangers is the overprescription of opioids by the medical community. Individuals who are recovering from surgery or extremely painful injuries are often prescribed narcotic (opioid) medications for the pain. While they are an effective way to manage pain, they can also lead to an opiate addition if the patient becomes too dependent on their effects, or if they already have a predisposition to opioid addiction.

According to medical studies, addiction to opioids is relatively uncommon. On average, about 4.5% of patients using narcotic pain relievers developed an addiction to their medication. However, while the percentage may seem small, an opioid addiction can cause a significant decrease in the quality of life of the addicted party. It could even lead to death.

In one Philadelphia case, a mother won $1.5 million in compensation for the wrongful death of her son. She sued the family doctor and a psychiatrist for overprescribing a deadly mix of narcotic medications. This case was particularly noted for the extreme incompetence of the physicians involved. The family doctor claimed he was performing pain management by prescribing large amounts of narcotics, but he had never been certified in pain management and had never been specially trained for it. The woman’s son was also being treated for depression by a psychiatrist who never ordered the medical records of the patient and was unaware of the other medication the son was taking.

The Philadelphia situation involved a serious case of medical malpractice, but doctors may not always be guilty of such incompetence. In order to prove a physician is guilty of medical malpractice, you would need to provide evidence showing a doctor had a duty of care to you, the doctor breached that duty of care, and the breach led directly to your injury.

For example, if you had a history of opioid abuse, and your doctor failed to look at your medical record before prescribing you a narcotic drug, he or she would be guilty of negligent behavior and would likely be sued for medical malpractice.

If you think you have suffered from the negligence of a medical professional, discuss the specifics of your case with an experienced West Virginia medical malpractice attorney. Berthold Law Firm, PLLC has more than 40 years of legal experience in personal injury law to offer your case. Let us help you seek compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. We have an excellent reputation for dedicated advocacy. Talk to us about your situation in a case consultation, and we can help address your questions and concerns.

Call us at (304) 605-2040 or fill out our online form to schedule a free case consultation today.