One in three patient deaths from opioids is due to a lack of monitoring by the hospital staff according to the Joint Commission which accredits hospitals. Let that sink in for a minute. This number when you think about it is huge. The opioid medications that have been the most commonly over prescribed are Oxycodone, Fentanyl, Dilaudid, Vicodin & Methadone. Opioids are classified as CNS depressant drugs. This means that they slow the region of the brain that controls breathing. This can be fatal causing breathing to stop all together. This is grounds for medical malpractice. According to a recent study from a medical insurer Coverys prescription opioids medication is the basis for more drug malpractice than any other drug class.
Failure to properly monitor the patient is something that is commonly happening. Whether it is in the hospital or once the patient is home complications can occur. A patient needs to be monitored strictly when in the hospital. Sadly, they aren’t being monitored enough in most situations. When sending a patient home, doctors need to wean a patient off opioids. This is so that withdrawal doesn’t happen. Serious side effects could happen as a result. These drugs are highly addictive and have become a major epidemic in the United States.
How do you prove malpractice? The testimony of a medical expert is the most common to prove negligence against the doctor who over prescribed the medication. Several other details such as medical records, the treating doctor’s experience, the diagnosis, any of the patient’s complaints during treatment, the treating doctor’s medical findings, what the medical literature states on how to treat the patient’s condition, etc. Likewise, hospital records can show if the nurses were not monitoring the patient closely or continuously.
If you or a family member has been the victim of opioid medication misuse please let Thomas & Wan, LLP help you today. Please call our office at 713-529-1177 for a free consultation.