Opioid addiction has become a national epidemic, and deaths resulting from
opioid overdoses have surged throughout the country in recent years. While
there are many factors that have contributed to the opioid crisis, prescription
medications are leading the way in fueling the crisis. Unfortunately,
these medications often come from medical professionals who negligently
and unethically prescribe narcotics to patients.
While there is nothing unethical or negligent about prescribing opioid
medications to help patients manage pain, doctors and medical professionals
do have a legal duty to ensure that their treatment of a patient and their
prescription practices are performed in accordance to the acceptable standard
of care. This means careful evaluations of a patient’s health and
how prescribed narcotics may harm or benefit them. In some cases, the
failure to weigh the benefits of pain treatment with the risk of addiction
can rise to the level of medical malpractice.
San Diego Personal Injury Attorney Robert Vaage has dedicated over 35 years
to advocating for the injured and the wronged, and to holding negligent
individuals and medical professionals accountable for causing preventable
injuries, damages, and death. With extensive experience handling medical
malpractice cases, Mr. Vaage has the insight to effectively protect the
rights of clients who suffer damages at the hands of doctors and health
care providers who provide substandard care. This includes handling medical
malpractice claims based on negligent prescription.
In our firm’s latest monthly newsletter – which you can
view here – we focus on how negligent prescription of narcotics is fueling
the opioid crisis in America. This is a crisis that has claimed more lives
as the result of drug overdoses in 2014 than in any year on record, and
continues to kill roughly 91 Americans every day.
With such alarming data, it is clear that the opioid problem is one that
has many contributing factors and many potential solutions. At the forefront
of these contributing factors is the prescription of opioid medications,
such as Percocet, Vicodin, and OxyContin, among others. These medications,
while effective for controlling pain, are exceptionally physically and
psychologically addictive. They often cause patients who may have once
needed them for a valid reason to continue their use despite no longer
having a medical need. This can result in obtaining medications, or even
opioid street drugs such as heroin, through doctor shopping, unscrupulous
pill mills, or even illegal means.
The rise in prescription painkillers is directly correlated to the rise
in opioid addiction and overdoses. Since 1999, the amount of prescription
opioid medications sold in the United States nearly quadrupled, despite
the fact that there has not been an increase in the amount of pain reported
by Americans. In 2013, health care providers issued close to a quarter
of a billion prescriptions for these powerful and highly addictive narcotics.
That’s enough to supply every American adult with their own bottle of pills.
In our newsletter, we discuss efforts being taken to combat opioid prescription
abuse, including increased regulation and a focus on enforcement of overprescribing.
We also discuss the role medical professionals play in the epidemic, and
their legal duty to treat patients under the accepted standard of care.
This includes their obligation to identify drug-seeking behavior and refrain
from prescribing narcotics. When they fail to do so, victims may have
grounds for a
medical malpractice lawsuit. Families of a patient who died from an opioid overdose may also have
the ability to pursue a
wrongful death lawsuit.
Proving negligent prescription medical malpractice cases is not easy, but
it can be effectively done with the help of a proven attorney who understands
the issues involved and the legal elements that must be satisfied in order
to illustrate that a physician breached their duty of care. At the Law
Offices of Robert Vaage, Attorney Vaage and our legal team work diligently
to explore the underlying merits of our client’s potential cases,
and to fight aggressively on their behalves when pursuing compensation
from health care providers whose negligent treatment and prescribing practices
cause harm that could and should have been prevented.
Over the years, Attorney Vaage’s commitment to our clients and passion
for holding wrongdoers accountable has enabled our firm to recover millions
of dollars in compensation. We’re prepared to apply that same work
ethic and unwavering commitment to all victims and families who reach
out to our firm during their times of need.
If you have questions about negligent prescription and medical malpractice,
our firm is readily available to help and review your case.
Contact us today for a FREE consultation.