My Doctor Overprescribed Addictive Pain Killers

Addiction to prescription opioids has become a national epidemic, and Pennsylvania has declared it to be the worst public health crisis facing Pennsylvanians. Addiction often begins after an injury, when a doctor legally prescribes an opioid pain medication to a patient. Some common medications that are prescribed are Vicodin, Lorcet, OxyContin, Percocet, and Percodan, although there are more.

Pain medication prescribed after an injury is meant to be used for a short period of time while the body heals. However, pain can linger longer than expected, or the patient may come to enjoy the feeling of well-being that occurs with use. When opioids are taken at higher doses than prescribed, or for longer than intended, they can lead to addiction.

Some signs of addiction are:

  • Using more of the drug at one time, or taking it for longer than prescribed
  • Not being able to reduce use
  • Spending time finding ways to get more drugs
  • Feeling a strong desire to take more
  • Feeling physical symptoms when you try to discontinue use

When people form an addiction to prescription medications, they often may blame the doctor who originally prescribed them. Doctors have a duty to prescribe opioids responsibly, and when they are careless, they may be liable for medical malpractice.

In an opioid addiction case, the affected patient will need to demonstrate that something about the prescription (the dosage, the type of medication, failure to notice signs of the addiction, etc.) was a failure on the part of the doctor to treat the patient responsibly.

In order to prove negligence, you will need to present the following information:

  • Your medical history
  • Your diagnoses
  • Your complaints
  • Your doctor’s objective medical findings
  • Your doctor’s experience in treating your issues
  • Current medical research on treating your condition

Medical malpractice claims can result in the doctor’s insurance company paying a settlement to the affected patient, or patient’s family. A medical malpractice lawsuit will involve an attorney building a case to show that the medical professional did not meet the accepted “standard of care” that is associated with the specific treatment. For example, if a former heroin addict discloses the addiction to a treating doctor, and the doctor prescribes OxyContin for pain, a malpractice claim may exist.

Witnesses will be called for this case, including an expert witness to testify about whether the doctor followed the accepted standard of care in treating pain.

When you’re injured by the actions of a medical professional, remember that insurance companies will want to settle quickly, and will often discourage patients from speaking with attorneys. When you meet with an attorney, you should bring anything that documents your experience: medical records, arrest records, names and contact information of witnesses who can support your claim of being addicted as a result of negligent care.

If you have suffered from opioid addiction that began with a doctor’s prescription, contact us today to discuss the details of your case.

Check out other articles by Lepley, Engelman, Yaw & Wilk


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