Some people believe that many doctors who prescribe narcotics or benzodiazepine to patients without screening them for a history of substance abuse may unwittingly commit medical malpractice. If a doctor prescribes an addict a drug like Xanax it is a "prescription for relapse" and such a negligent mistake can be fatal. Additionally, this does not just apply to medical doctors; it also applies to other medical professionals, such as dentists.
One doctor in Florida has been charged with two counts of first degree murder when two of the patients treated at his chiropractic clinic died because they overdosed on drugs that were prescribed to them. The doctor, Dr. Christensen, faces other charges as well, including trafficking oxycodone. The two count of murder he was charged with were just two of the 35 patients who died after they had been prescribed high powered narcotics by this doctor. The other 33 cases did not have enough evidence to charge Christensen with murder.
Investigators have found that Dr. Christensen had prescribed lethal doses of several drugs to patients who did not legitimately need them for medical reasons. Attorneys for Christensen have even argued in civil lawsuits that he had been trying to help addicts wean themselves off the drugs. These lawsuits were settled without any admittance of wrongdoing.
Some doctors ignore the information provided by patients that they are recovering from substance abuse and try to prescribe them the drugs anyways. The doctors may even encourage the patient to take the drugs out of concern for the pain they will be experiencing. However, if the patient takes the drug it can often lead to a relapse.
On the other hand some patients lie to get drugs, and can be very good at it. They will deny their addiction if questioned about it. However, denying them the medication they may need would be cruel. If a doctor suspects that the patient is a drug addict they should schedule a follow up appointment after they have prescribed the drugs, usually in the form of a follow up appointment or call the next day to ensure there are no complications. Doctors should also avoid writing a long prescription when the pain will likely subside in a few days.
But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected] You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.