America’s opioid epidemic is the worst public health crisis in decades. Thousands of people are overdosing OxyContin, hydrocodone and other prescription opioids each year. A new study published by Coverys, a medical liability insurer, has discovered that opioids are also responsible for a majority of medical malpractice lawsuits involving medication errors. Some of the lawsuits may be a result of negligent pain management.
Coverys analyzed more than 10,000 medical malpractice claims that were filed between 2012 and 2016 to compile its report. According to the data, 24 percent of these claims involved prescription opioid medications. To put this into perspective, opioids are responsible for only 5 percent of prescriptions in the US. Plaintiffs who filed opioid lawsuits made several types of claims. Some claimed they or loved ones had overdosed, while others filed lawsuits after becoming addicted. Furthermore, 15 percent of the claims involve allegations that physicians inappropriately prescribed opioid medications.
Coverys’ study also discovered that medication mistakes account for 8 percent of medical malpractice claims.
Can I File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit for Negligent Pain Management?
In some cases, overprescribing opioids may be medical malpractice. It would depend on the circumstances that led to an overdose or other adverse health condition. Physicians owe their patients a duty of care. If a physician were to prescribe opioids to a patient who suffered from a history of substance abuse disorder, and then that patient overdosed, it might be considered medical malpractice. The same could be said if a doctor prescribed an excessive number of opioids to a patient who overdosed.
These hypothetical scenarios may or may not be medical malpractice, so it is important to discuss what happened with an attorney. The Atlantic City medical malpractice attorneys at Targan & Pender, P.C. have decades of experience helping patients and the families of patients who were harmed by medical negligence.
Our attorneys could review the details of your case at no cost to help determine your eligibility for filing a lawsuit. If we determine that you can file a lawsuit against the hospital or health care practitioner, then you would not owe us attorney’s fees unless we successfully recovered damages.