Managing pain with medications often requires a delicate balance -- especially when opiods are prescribed. Doctors here in Oregon and elsewhere need to monitor their patients closely because these drugs are addictive and can cause harm to the patient if not given in the correct dosages. When doctor errors occur, people can die.
In fact, approximately 19,000 people die each year from opiod overdoses. One source explains that many physicians are of the mistaken belief that it is safe to slowly and steadily increase the dosage given to a patient. However, this often results in doses reaching dangerous levels.
If the patient does not die from alarmingly high dosages of opiods, such as Vicodin, Ocycodone or Oxycontin, the potential for addiction is very real. This is what happened to a Missouri man. Over the course of approximately four years, he was prescribed somewhere in the neighborhood of 37,000 pain pills.
He ended up in a drug rehabilitation center, and his wife filed for divorce. A jury recently awarded each of them damages, along with punitive damages. The verdict appears to send a clear message to doctors and their employers that doctors are contributing to the abuse of opiods through their treatment plans.
There are cases where the use of certain medications has become so routine that their dangers are ignored. Even if an Oregon resident does not die from doctor errors involving the prescription of opiods, other health consequences can cause permanent harm both mentally and physically. People want to have faith in their doctors. However, the sheer numbers of medical malpractice suits involving medication mistakes are enough to make anyone nervous. If a mistake is suspected, it would be worth discussing the situation with an attorney.
Source: stltoday.com, "Messenger: St. Louis jury sends $17.6 million message in opioid abuse verdict", Tony Messenger, June 28, 2016