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Lawsuits and administrative hearings follow opioid deaths

While the media brings national attention to the growing problem of prescription drug addiction, doctors are increasingly in the crosshairs for prescribing opioids and painkillers. Facing administrative hearings and malpractice lawsuits, physicians in New York and across the country who prescribe such medications for their suffering patients risk standing accused of misconduct if those patients abuse or divert the drugs. One doctor in another state is currently facing disciplinary action and legal consequences for allegedly prescribing painkillers inappropriately.

Although he apparently had no federal permit to do so, the 50-year-old doctor is accused of prescribing methadone and Suboxone to patients struggling with drug addiction. Additionally, the doctor is said to have over-prescribed opioid pain medicines and sedatives, placing some patients at risk of addiction or causing them to move to more powerful illegal drugs, such as heroin. While reports named no exact number of affected patients, supposedly, some patients died as a result of the medications the doctor prescribed.

The parents of one patient accused the doctor of prescribing a combination of powerful opioids and sedatives, such as oxycodone and clonazepam, despite the fact that the patient suffered from drug addiction and had suicidal tendencies. The family believes the drugs resulted in an overdose that took the life of their son. They have filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor.

New York doctors in such positions have the right to be concerned when their licenses, livelihoods and reputations are on the line. Administrative hearings may result in the end of a doctor's career, and a malpractice lawsuit can make it impossible, both financially and professionally, for a physician to continue working in his or her chosen field. When facing these potentially life-changing charges, doctors will certainly have an advantage if they seek the counsel of an experienced attorney.

Source: desmoinesregister.com, "Iowa doctor accused of malpractice in patients' overdose deaths", Tony Leys, July 26, 2017

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