Is It Medical Malpractice to Over-Prescribe Opioids?
Opioids are a necessary choice for many sufferers of chronic pain conditions, victims of recent accidents, and those who have recently undergone surgery. However, opioids are potent and dangerous substances that carry an extreme risk of addiction.
Medical professionals can be held responsible for over-prescribing opioids to their patients. However, there are specific criteria that any medical malpractice claim must meet to be successful. These are as follows:
- There must be a doctor-patient relationship in which the medical professional has a duty of care towards the patient;
- That duty of care must be breached by the doctor or medical professional in some way;
- The patient must suffer harm due to the doctor’s breach of their duty of care; and
- The patient must suffer damages due to the doctor’s breach of their duty of care to the patient.
How Do Doctors Breach Their Duty of Care When Prescribing Opioids?
At times, it is medically appropriate for a physician to prescribe opioids or narcotics to their patients. However, there are situations where doing so can be considered medical malpractice. These are as follows:
- When opioids are not indicated for treatment or are continued longer than necessary;
- When an incorrect opioid is prescribed or a correct opioid at an excessive dosage; and
- When the physician fails to monitor a patient while that patient is taking or ending their course of opioid medication.
Which Opioid Medications Are Most Commonly Over-Prescribed?
Thanks to recent laws regarding the prescription of opioids and a growing awareness of the opioid epidemic, the over-prescription of opioids has decreased over the past several years. However, opioid medications continue to be over-prescribed across the United States.
Some of the most commonly over-prescribed opioids include:
- Fentanyl transdermal;
- Dilaudid/Hydromorphone; and
The Consequences of Opioid Addiction
Addiction to opioids has devastating consequences, including job loss, financial ruin, legal issues, added health problems, and the breakdown of familial relationships. It is imperative to hold negligent healthcare providers accountable for the destruction preventable opioid addiction causes.
If you believe a doctor negligently over-prescribed opioids to yourself or a family member, seek medical and legal help right away.
Contact an Experienced Arizona Medical Malpractice Attorney
At Knapp & Roberts, our experienced medical malpractice attorneys in Phoenix can evaluate your opioid case and advise you if you have a claim worth pursuing. If you do, we will help you file your claim promptly to ensure you do not lose the right to any compensation you may be entitled to.
At Knapp & Roberts, we are a compassionate yet aggressive law firm that believes in pursuing negligent physicians and holding them responsible for preventable medical errors. This not only helps to serve you as our client, but it also brings light to medical practices and prevents other patients from harm in the future.
Contact Knapp & Roberts now to schedule a no-obligation consultation with one of our skilled attorneys. We only charge legal fees when we win compensation on your behalf.
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