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Shapiro & Appleton

Drug Addicted Doctors and Those who Over Prescribe Pain Killers

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No one would ever let a drug addict make life altering decisions for them.  But that is just what many patients are doing when they seek treatment at hospitals.  The terrible new reality is that it may be the doctor or nurse that is treating you who is high on drugs.  According to a new report by USA Today there are more than100,000 doctors, nurses, technicians and other health professionals abusing prescription drugs.  Usually dangerous narcotics such as oxycodone and fentanyl.  These doctors and nurses are putting patients at risk for botched surgeries and terrible injuries that would be grounds for medical malpractice. 

Almost as bad are the doctors who prescribe unnecessary prescription pain killers.  A new report shows that doctors who are the most prolific prescribers of powerful narcotic painkillers and stimulants often have worrisome records, an analysis of Medicare data shows.  In 2012, 12 of Medicare's top 20 prescribers of drugs such as oxycodone, fentanyl, morphine and Ritalin have faced disciplinary actions by their state medical boards or criminal charges related to their medical practices.  These drugs have a high potential for abuse and are classified as Schedule 2 controlled substances by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Something as routine as having surgery to remove children’s tonsils or adenoids can go terribly wrong if too much or the wrong pain killer is prescribed.  The FDA recently issued a warning not to prescribeCodeine to children.   Since that warning, a review of the FDA database has determined that from 1969 to May 1, 2012, there were ten deaths and three overdoses associated with codeine.

As Virginia medical malpractice attorneys we have seen properly prescribed pain drugs that have killed patients even when the victims followed all dosing instructions for the medication.  One such dangerous drug is the Fentanyl or Duragesic pain patch.   In one case a jury reached a verdict for the family of a 28-year-old Florida man who died while wearing a fentanyl transdermal pain patch, and one allegation was that a defective "fold over" in the patch allowed a lethal amount of the drug to be absorbed unbeknownst the victim until it was too late.

CT

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