A physician in a neighboring state of Illinois has recently been charged with eight counts of involuntary manslaughter. The physician allegedly prescribed a number of narcotics that these patients that ultimately died of overdoses.
The doctor helped run a pain clinic, but he is now facing at least four medical malpractice and three wrongful death lawsuits. The physician is currently suspended from his job.
Such a case comes at a time when a great deal of attention had been focused upon the use and abuse of painkillers as a prescription medication. The number of deaths due to overdoses of such prescription medications is twelve times higher than it was just a decade ago.
Though some of the deaths involved suicides, most involved accidental overdoses. Even those deaths related to suicide may have been the result of becoming addicted to narcotics and other painkillers.
It is the duty of every doctor to assess the needs of the patients, and ultimately the doctor is responsible for such patients' medical care. If doctors understand that certain risks are involved in the prescription of medications, those doctors need to assess and continue to monitor the situation.
Of the many kinds of medical malpractice that may occur, wrongly prescribing certain drugs is one area that attorneys are seeing prop up in lawsuits filed with the court. Attorneys understand that there is a difference between a doctor that is dedicated to providing care, and a physician not paying attention to a potentially dangerous medical situation.
Thankfully, physicians as the one mentioned above remain the exception rather than the rule.
Source: USA Today, "Doctor charged in prescription drug deaths," by Tony Leys, September 5, 2012