Pain Management Medical Malpractice
Prescription painkillers are an important part of ensuring a person’s comfort and well-being. However, doctors must use caution when prescribing painkillers to patients. As the opioid crisis has revealed, addiction to prescription pain medication can ruin people’s lives. That’s why the Utah medical malpractice attorneys of Younker Hyde Macfarlane, PLLC take prescription drug cases so seriously.
Patients who developed a dependence on painkillers can file lawsuits for pain management medical malpractice. Here, we will explore the topic of painkiller addiction in greater detail. We’ll also review the dangers of undertreating a patient’s pain and discomfort.
Addiction to Painkillers
The increased production and prescription of opioids during the 1990s led to a long-term opioids epidemic in America. Prescriptions for opioids tripled from 76 million in 1991 to 219 million in 2011. The number rose to 289 million opioid prescriptions in 2016. It’s estimated that around 6 percent of people who were prescribed opioids for pain management went on to misuse them when the painkillers were no longer needed.
According to a February 2020 article in The Atlantic, 453,300 Americans have died from opioid abuse from 1999 to 2016. This number is higher than previous estimates of opioid-related deaths.
Common Addictive Pain Medications
Our Utah law firm has found that the following prescription medications are highly addictive and commonly misused:
- Oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet)
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Norco)
- Fentanyl (Actiq, Duragesic, Sublimaze)
How Painkiller Addiction Affects People’s Lives
Opioid addiction can significantly impact your physical well-being and livelihood. The effects of addiction have caused people to lose interest in activities, and even lose gainful employment. Dependence on prescription painkillers also leads to interpersonal problems, with some addicts withdrawing from friends and family.
Overcoming addiction to opioids and other prescription drugs can be costly and difficult, placing added strain on individuals and their households.
Can I Sue for Painkiller Addiction?
Yes, it is possible if you can prove that your doctor was negligent in prescribing an addictive medication. For example, your doctor may have acted negligently if your medical history notes a history of drug abuse or opioid addiction yet the doctor prescribed opioids anyway. If a loved one died because of their prescription painkiller addiction, the surviving loved ones can seek a wrongful death lawsuit against the physician who prescribed the opioids.
In these cases, it must be proved that the doctor overprescribed pain medication to a patient, or that the doctor should have considered a different, less addictive pain medication.
Undertreating a Patient’s Pain
In addition to opioid addiction lawsuits, our Utah law firm can also assist patients who did not receive proper pain relief as part of their medical treatment. Pain undertreatment occurs when doctors ignore a patient’s symptoms of pain. As a result, no pain relievers are prescribed, causing severe pain and suffering as a patient recovers from surgery or other kinds of medical treatment.
Given the non-addictive opioid alternatives available, doctors should consider various methods available for providing safe pain relief rather than denying a patient proper care.
Contact Our Attorneys
If you are the victim of medical negligence and would like more information about your legal options, it’s important that you speak with the attorneys at our law firm. We encourage you to schedule a legal consultation online or call Younker Hyde Macfarlane, PLLC at (801) 335-6467.