Patients who are recovering from surgery or significant injuries are often prescribed narcotic or opioid pain medications to keep them comfortable as they heal. While these medications are highly effective at reducing a patient’s pain, they also may have unfortunate side effects. Addiction is often one of these side effects, which can be incredibly destructive to the patient’s life. Battling a pain medication addiction is serious, and it can often raise the question of who should be held responsible for a patient’s addiction.
How Common is Pain Medication Addiction?
Many narcotic pain medications are made from opium, which is a highly effective pain medication and the natural ingredient in heroin. Opium is highly addictive, and patients can easily become dependent on the medications. Morphine and codeine are the most common natural narcotic medications, while Dilaudid, Percocet, Vicodin, and OxyContin or oxycodone are the synthetic versions. Addiction is difficult to treat, especially when pain is a real risk should patients stop taking the medications. Many people cannot break pain medication addictions on their own, which can lead to them remaining addicted. It is important for these patients to receive the help they need to recover from their addiction, but this can be challenging. Recent medical studies show that around 4.5% of patients using narcotic pain relievers become addicted. While this number may seem small, the addictions can have significant costs. For patients who are suffering due to their addiction, it is important to know who can be held liable for their condition.
Medical Malpractice Claims & Addiction
When a physician is negligent and doesn’t exercise proper caution and care for their patients, it can be possible to hold them liable for the injuries sustained by patients. When a doctor prescribes a potentially dangerous pain medication, they must take appropriate care to protect their patients from addiction. As a patient, you will need to prove that your physician was negligent in prescribing your pain medications, and this led to your addiction. To prove negligence, you must be able to demonstrate that a similarly skilled and educated doctor in a similar situation would not have made the decisions your doctor did. You will also need to demonstrate that your addiction is the direct result of your doctor’s negligence. Negligent pain management care can include:
- Overprescribing narcotic pain medications
- Prescribing narcotic pain medications to a patient with a history of addiction or problems with narcotics
- Prescribing narcotic pain medications for long-term use and not providing pain management referrals
It can be possible to hold your doctor liable for your addiction if you are able to prove that they were negligent in your medical care. If you suspect that your narcotic pain medication addiction is due to the carelessness of your doctor, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Toledo medical malpractice attorneys. With more than 100 years of collective experience, Williams DeClark Tuschman Co., L.P.A. is well-equipped to fight for your case.