Prescribing Fentanyl, a potent narcotic drug, to some patients could be considered irresponsible to the point of negligence. Fentanyl is chemically similar to morphine, but it is 80 to 100 times stronger. It is typically used to treat severe or chronic pain in patients who have serious illnesses. However, there has been a recent trend of physicians prescribing it to patients who then become dependent and die from overdoses.
Part of the danger of Fentanyl is its ability to depress a patient’s body rapidly, meaning their body slows down incredibly fast. When a patient has too strong a dose, a person’s heartbeat can decrease significantly, and they may experience dizziness, confusion, pinpoint pupils, weak muscles, extreme drowsiness, fainting, low blood pressure, bluish tinges to their nails and lips, and dangerously slowed or stopped respiration.
Because of its potency, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t approved the medication for acute postoperative pain in patients. However, doctors have still been prescribing it for pain management after a patient fractures or breaks a bone. Some even prescribe it when a patient experiences acid reflux following a surgical procedure. Such prescriptions when unnecessary can result in patients overdosing or dying from the administration of Fentanyl.
Additionally, some doctors have been ignoring the potential risk of prescribing Fentanyl to someone without preexisting opioid tolerance. The FDA has mandated a patient is only eligible for a prescription to Fentanyl if he or she has been taking a particular dose of morphine for at least a week previously. Without this prior dosage of morphine, he or she lacks the tolerance for Fentanyl, which means it’s too strong and potentially dangerous.
It has such a strong effect that doctors are supposed to regulate the amount they prescribe; however, some often prescribe too potent a dosage, which can result in a patient’s death after taking the drug just one time. Likewise, when doctors ignore other medications the patient might be on or any of their preexisting medical conditions, they can create even higher risks if the patient takes Fentanyl. For example, central nervous system (CNS) depressants paired with Fentanyl can cause respiratory depression, preventing a patient from getting enough oxygen to their tissue.
If doctors keep ignoring FDA recommendations, they put themselves at risk for a medical malpractice suit. Regulations are designed to protect a patient’s health and life, and when physicians ignore these rules, they’re putting their patient’s lives on the line. If you or a loved one have experienced this kind of medical malpractice, make sure you seek compensation for your injury. Physicians who act irresponsibly should be held accountable for their actions.
Talk to one of our skilled Charleston medical malpractice attorneys about your circumstances. Berthold Law Firm, PLLC has more than 40 years of personal injury law experience to offer your case. Let us see what we can do for you.
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