Physician Liability for Prescription Drug Overdose

Posted by on Jun 24, 2014 in Hospital Accidents | 2 comments

Anyone who is following the story of Dr. Gregory House, the main character in the popular medical television drama “House,” would be aware that he is addicted to Vicodin, a prescriptive drug medication. In the 4th season he overdoses on it, but doesn’t die. Unfortunately, this is not true for more than 35,000 people who die from prescription drug doses every year, 74% of which were accidental while 17% were intentional. For a majority of these overdose cases, physicians are blamed.

The liability of physicians for a drug overdose may not seem immediately apparent. The patient is, after all, in control of how much drug should be taken and should be responsible for any excessive dosage. But a closer look into the medical history of each individual may provide a clue to why doctors are liable for any injury or death of their patients due to prescription drug overdose.

The most common basis for a claim of medical malpractice is the failure of the doctor to take a comprehensive patient history. According to the website of Louisville’s Sampson Law Firm, this will reveal prior drug abuse behavior which is a red flag in potential prescription drug abuse, especially for prescriptions involving narcotics and pain killers. The patient history will also indicate what medications the patient is already on which may be contraindicate certain prescription drugs.

Prescription drugs are restricted precisely because they are potentially dangerous. Doctors are well aware that they need to be especially careful when prescribing these to their patients, and must follow established protocols for doses as well as switching from one medication to another.  If the doctor fails to take the necessary precautions against accidental or intentional overdose on prescription drugs, it may be the basis for a medical malpractice suit.

If you or a member of your family suffered an injury or died from a prescription drug overdose, you may be able to get compensation from the prescribing physician. Get in touch with a medical malpractice lawyer in your area to find out.

On the other hand, if you are a practicing physician who has been wrongly accused of medical malpractice, contact a license defense lawyer in order to keep the license you need to practice. An experienced attorney will be able to help you through the process.

2 Comments

  1. Thanks!

  2. Criminal defense is serious business and I am grateful that someone is writing about it.

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