When you suffer a painful injury or illness it’s very likely your doctor will prescribe opioids, a category of pain medicines. Unfortunately, opioids can be extremely addictive and can sometimes cause more harm than good. If your doctor overprescribed pain meds, resulting in a serious injury or the death of a loved one, you may have a medical malpractice claim.
Medical professionals understand how addictive pain killers can be, and should exercise caution when doling out prescriptions. When a doctor is negligent in their duty, they could be held liable for any resulting injuries.
Examples of negligence include:
- Prescribing the wrong medicine
- Prescribing an inappropriately large dosage
- Failure to notice a patient’s drug addiction
- Providing a patient with a past drug addiction with addictive medicine
However, before you can prove the doctor should be held liable, you must first prove duty, breach, causation, and damages. This means the doctor must have an established relationship with the patient that required him or her to exhibit care for the patient. A breach must have occurred, meaning the doctor exhibited behavior another competent doctor would not have done, such as overprescribing a medicine. There also must be proof that the doctor’s mistake directly harmed the patient.
These types of cases can be difficult to prove because prescribing medication is never an exact science, and varies depending on each patient and their injury. However, there are certain ways in which a doctor should exhibit care for his or her patient, and failing to do so could be considered negligence. For example, if the doctor prescribes an addictive medicine to a patient who had a drug addiction a year ago, that decision is clearly not a good one.
Alternatively, a doctor may prescribe pain meds for an extended period of time without offering other options for the patient to try, such as pain management therapies or non-medicated alternatives.
When a doctor fails to exhibit due care when prescribing opioids, it could result in a drug addiction, accidental overdose, or even death. If you or someone you love has been harmed because a doctor was negligent in prescribing pain medication, you may have a medical malpractice or wrongful death claim.
Contact Erskine & McMahon LLP for a complimentary evaluation with our Longview attorneys.