Opioid addiction is a major public health concern in Cleveland, throughout Ohio, and across the country. Too many patients have medical procedures or visits that lead to opioid prescriptions, only to result in addictions, overdoses, and deaths. Who is responsible for an opioid overdose or death? Can an opioid overdose lead to a successful medical malpractice lawsuit?
According to a recent article in NPR, medical professionals are “still prescribing dangerously high amounts of opioids in the U.S.,” even though they understand the associated risks. In some cases, these healthcare providers could be held liable through a medical negligence claim. I want to discuss the article with you and to tell you more about filing a medical malpractice lawsuit related to opioids.
Healthcare Providers Continue to Prescribe Opioids Despite Known Risks
The NPR article explains how, for the last decade, many patient safety and public health advocates have blamed the opioid epidemic on too many opioid prescriptions. Indeed, according to the piece, “for nearly a decade, medical studies, congressional hearings, news reports, they all sounded the alarm about doctors overprescribing opioid pain pills in deadly amounts.”
The article goes on to cite archived records of President Obama, who said, “we have to have a change in the medical profession and the drug companies,” insisting that “we have to hold them more accountable.”
Over the last 10 years, some criminal investigations were launched into healthcare providers’ opioid-prescribing practices, and “some doctors went to prison.” Yet opioids continue to get prescribed to patients as effective pain medications, and some patient safety advocates describe those prescribing practices as “reckless.”
As opioid prescriptions have resulted in addictions and deaths, more medical malpractice claims related to opioids have also come up. Yet can patients or their families effectively file and win a medical negligence claim tied to the prescription of an opioid?
Medical Malpractice Claims Have Risen
Some situations in which opioids are prescribed may in fact be scenarios involving medical negligence. Healthcare providers have a duty of care to their patients, and they must act as another reasonable physician in the same geographic area and medical field would under the same or similar circumstances.
Accordingly, if a doctor prescribes an opioid despite knowing that a patient suffers from addiction issues, or renews an opioid prescription after suspecting that the patient suffers from addiction and may be at risk of an overdose, that doctor may be liable.
It is important to speak with me about your case. While some opioid cases may involve medical negligence, it is important to remember that these drugs can be prescribed for legitimate reasons.
Contact My Office for Help with Your Medical Malpractice Case
Opioids are a serious problem in Ohio and throughout the country, and healthcare providers need to be careful when they prescribe these drugs. As I have discussed above, there are certainly some situations in which prescribing opioids to a patient might constitute medical malpractice.
In those scenarios, I want to make sure the injured patient (or his or her family in the event of a fatal overdose) is able to hold the doctor accountable and to seek financial compensation for losses. I’ll Make Them Pay!® Contact my office today at 877.944.4373 to learn more about how I can help you with your medical malpractice claim.