Powerful pain medications are often required after surgery or a serious injury. These medications are highly effective at reducing pain but have a heightened risk of addiction as well. When prescribing medications, doctors need to be cautious of this serious side effect and ensure that their patients use the medication as intended. Your doctor should exercise reasonable care in prescribing you any opioid or narcotic pain medication.
What is reasonable care? Your doctor is expected to make decisions that minimize the risks and maximize the benefits of your treatment. Carefully considering your known medical history when choosing a medication is an example of reasonable care. If you were a recovering drug addict, and your doctor was aware of your risk for addiction, they would be negligent to prescribe opioid pain medications. In this case, you would have grounds for a medical malpractice suit. On the other hand, if your doctor was unaware of your status as an ex-addict, and prescribed opioids, they would not be considered negligent, as you did not provide them with crucial information.
Proving Negligence in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
For a medical malpractice suit, you must prove that your doctor was negligent in his duties to you. This can be difficult, but not impossible. To prove this, your attorney will examine all medical records pertaining to your treatment, and will likely contact an expert witness to review your records as well. A qualified medical expert is often a physician in the same field at the defendant. Without their testimony, it can be impossible to take your case to court.
- Your expert witness will form their opinion based on the following:
- Your medical history
- Your complaints
- Your diagnosis
- Your doctor’s objective findings
- Your doctor’s experience
- Medical literature on the treatment
What Constitutes Negligence?
According to the earlier example, a doctor ignoring a patient’s medical history can be considered negligence. However, this isn’t the only way a physician can fail their patients. Doctors who do not take adequate steps to evaluate the cause of pain and properly diagnose the source can be considered negligent. Doctors who are not specifically trained in pain management can cause pain medication addiction in their patients by overprescribing pain medications without a true understanding of the effects or plans to reduce the patient’s pain through alternative methods.
Medical professionals have a duty of care to accurately diagnose their patients through thorough testing and begin treatment that is effective and will not cause harm to their patient. If your doctor failed to show reasonable care in your treatment, and as a result you found yourself battling a pain medication addiction, you may be able to take action. A qualified medical malpractice attorney can evaluate your case and determine if you will be able to find a claim.
Get help with your claim from our Kansas City medical malpractice lawyers. Our team is highly experienced in medical malpractice and pharmaceutical liability cases, and we offer our clients personalized legal representation. We believe in integrity and passion for what we do, and helping those harmed by medical negligence is our foremost commitment. Contact Bertram & Graf, L.L.C. by calling (888) 398-2277 to schedule a free consultation.