When Pain Medications Become Fatal – Who is Liable?

In some cases, a patient may require strong pain medications after surgery or to provide relief from chronic pain. When a podiatrist or other physician prescribes pain medication, there is a chance that the patient could become addicted to pain medication.

Large pharmaceutical companies urged doctors to help their patients by “getting out ahead of” the pain. Doctors were encouraged to prescribe opioids and other pain medications as a proactive measure. However, when a patient dies because of the use of pain medications, is the doctor or other party liable? A New York podiatry malpractice lawyer can help answer that question.

Does Prescribing Pain Medications Rise to the Level of Malpractice?

It can be difficult to prove that a podiatrist who prescribes pain medications was negligent because of the widespread use of pain medications for non-terminal conditions. However, if a podiatrist prescribes medication that is unnecessary or unwarranted, the doctor’s action may be considered negligent, especially if prescribing the drugs led to addiction or death.

It may also be malpractice if the podiatrist failed to warn the patient of the risks and dangers of taking opioids and other pain medications. Likewise, doctors who fail to review a patient’s medical history could be liable if the patient’s history indicates a high risk of addiction.

A podiatrist may also be guilty of medical malpractice if the physician prescribed the incorrect dosage of a prescription pain medication. Doctors may also be liable for prescribing the wrong opioid for the patient’s condition or failing to closely monitor the patient while the patient was taking a potentially addictive and deadly drug.

Proving Liability for a Pain Medication Fatality

If your family member’s death is linked to the use of pain medication, confirming liability requires hiring another physician who is considered to be an expert in the same field. The expert or specialist must review the medical records, the patient’s medical history, the doctor’s treatment plan, the doctor’s level of expertise, and the doctor’s professional history to determine if the doctor’s actions rise to the level of malpractice. If the podiatrist failed to meet his or her professional duty and the accepted standard of care, the podiatrist might be liable for the patient’s death.

Each case involving a fatality because of opioid use or use of other pain medications is unique. The facts and circumstances of the case determine whether the doctor committed malpractice. Therefore, it is impossible to base the potential outcome of a case on past cases. It is best to consult an experienced New York City podiatry malpractice attorney as soon as possible so that the attorney can conduct a thorough investigation based on the unique facts and circumstances surrounding your loved one’s premature death.

New York Podiatry Malpractice Attorney

If you believe the death of your loved one is directly related to prescription pain medication, it may be prudent to contact a New York podiatry malpractice attorney. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer can review the facts and circumstances of your situation to determine if you may have a claim for medical malpractice against the podiatrist or another party.

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.