Can I Sue My Podiatrist for Getting Me Addicted to Opioids?

During the present-day epidemic of drug addiction, this question is a significant one. No one wants to become addicted to painkillers, but both medical and psychological factors can pull you into addiction more quickly than many people suspect. 

After a podiatrist performs surgery on a patient — to remove a bunion or Morton’s neuroma, or to correct a foot or toe deformity — the pain is likely to be severe for as long as several months. Therefore, your doctor must maintain a delicate balance between prescribing enough painkillers to keep you comfortable, but not enough to create a pattern that leads to addiction.

If your podiatrist failed to monitor the amounts of opioids prescribed to you or was negligent in his or her duty of care by failing to observe red flags that your usage of opioids was becoming risky, Dental & Podiatry Malpractice Lawyers of New York may be able to help. Lawrence M. Karam, PC, our experienced podiatry malpractice attorney, may well be able to file a successful malpractice lawsuit against your podiatrist since he has a fine track record of fighting to obtain just compensation for those whose podiatrists have done them serious harm. 

Proving Podiatry Malpractice

Proving podiatry malpractice is challenging, but Lawrence Karam, who concentrates solely in this kind of lawsuit is up to the task. Beyond being a well-credentialed, highly competent lawyer, he is a compassionate person who knows the misery drug addiction can cause. 

In order to prove that your podiatrist was negligent or reckless, we must be able to show evidence that he behaved in a way that a reasonable physician would not under the same circumstances. Examples of such negligence may include:

  • Not taking, or not heeding, a full medical history that may show a history of drug abuse
  • Prescribing a larger number of pills than necessary, permitting the patient to stockpile the medication or even to overdose
  • Not checking what other medications or supplements the patient is taking that may, combined with the prescribed painkiller, be a dangerous mixture
  • Failing to take blood tests prior to starting particular medications or failing to check blood levels at regular intervals as required
  • Not paying attention to aspects of the patient’s affect, appearance, or reportage of symptoms — any of which may be red flags for addiction

If the patient seems drowsy or disoriented, has tiny pupils, says the medication is having less and less effect on the pain, or the patient complains of other symptoms, such as memory loss or confusion, the doctor should be on high alert and monitor the patient closely.

Not All Cases Are Winnable

All of the above is based on the fact that you have been frank with your podiatrist. If you have had a problem with opioid or other addiction, are an active or recovering alcoholic, or have serious psychiatric issues and do not inform your doctor of these conditions, your podiatrist cannot be expected to anticipate a problem. 

On the other hand, if you ask for a second prescription because you lost the first one, or say you need double the amount of opioids because you will be away for 2 weeks, your podiatrist should be savvy enough to become suspicious. She or he should question you further and perhaps refer you to a pain management specialist whose specialty is relieving pain without prescribing narcotics.

When the Odds Are in Our Favor

If you have informed your podiatrist prior to surgery that you have had difficulty with addiction in the past or that you have a familial history of substance abuse, however, your doctor may be found guilty of negligence for prescribing an opioid to you in the first place.

Other factors may also be relevant. As your podiatry malpractice attorney, Lawrence Karam will look into the podiatrist’s past to find out if the doctor has ever had claims of negligence filed against him or her before, especially in cases involving drug addiction. He will also look for experts to assess your case and possibly testify on your behalf.

Contact Dental & Podiatry Malpractice for Targeted Legal Representation

Don’t be reluctant to call us if you’re not sure your podiatry malpractice claim is viable. We have the experience and in-depth knowledge to evaluate your case and will only take you on as a client if we feel strongly that we can help you achieve a successful outcome.

About the Author
Of all the different areas in medical malpractice, it is podiatry malpractice that has had a particular interest to me. With 42 years practicing law and representing hundreds of victims of malpractice, I have created a law practice in which my clients are comfortable knowing that their case is being handled with my personal attention, in the most professional manner, and without unreasonable delays.