More Doctors Facing Charges Over Drug Abuse; Medical Malpractice?

To be honest, I first saw of this issue days ago but was recalcitrant to post regarding it. Particularly because it would loop back to the tired discussion of Michael Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray, and his plight with prosecutors. However, another recent study found that children are being overmedicated; not in general, but when they seek care say, for example, at hospitals. This is particularly dangerous because children are more likely to suffer the steep consequences from overdoses and aggressive medication regimens. So now, this issue has my attention.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fatal overdoses from just prescription painkillers has more than tripled from 1999 through 2006 in the United States; approximately 13,800 per year! Therefore, just how Dr. Murray finds himself in the crosshairs of prosecutors, many other physicians are being targeted for this as well. In fact, there is empirical evidence documenting this: between 1981 and 2001 there were just over two dozen instances of criminal cases against doctors for malpractice, but now between 2001 and 2011 there were 37 reported cases. The majority of these cases are indeed for doctors over-prescribing painkillers and other controlled substances/medications.

The temporally occurrence of prosecutors hunting doctors for drug abuse and children being over-medicated in hospitals are what concerns me. Researchers found that most children in the hospital were given five or more medications and drugs, with some receiving as many as thirteen different kinds! Of course, the most common was acetaminophen, a painkiller. There were two other medications commonly prescribed; one being for asthma, and the other being antibiotics.

This truly does scare me. I am behind prosecutors going after these physicians, particularly when children are involved. The medical implications can be much worse, and the amount it takes to overdose a child is significantly less than a full grown adult. Further, these doctors should face both civil and criminal liability. Yes, these doctors are being prosecuted through the criminal realm, but it is also possible for them to be liable in the civil realm. Both are medical malpractice-with slightly different "elements" to prove to a jury-but the underlying notion is the same. The patient was injured, caused by a physician not exercising the skill of a reasonably competent physician in the field.

If you or someone you know has been harmed by a zealous-prescribing physician, ESPECIALLY if there is a child involved, PLEASE contact me. The clock is ticking and medical malpractice claims are sometimes only viable for two and a half years.

Additionally, I would love to hear what you think about this topic. I 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.
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