West Virginia Opioid Wrongful Death
Opioid Painkillers – Get the Legal Counsel You Need
You might think that opioid painkillers are safe when used as prescribed and under a doctor’s supervision. However, these prescription drugs are often handed out to patients irresponsibly and with little to no instruction or guidance. Thus, patients who are prescribed these drugs to treat severe or chronic pain are often at risk for overdose, poisoning, or addiction.
Between 1999 and 2009, the number of deaths related to opioid pain killers in the United States more than doubled, with an annual death toll of almost 14,000 people. In 2014, the CDC reported nearly 29,000 opioid pain killer overdose deaths in the US.
If you’re concerned that you or someone you love might be at risk of death or injury due to opioid painkillers, you should know about the most common prescription drugs of this kind, including:
Duragesic or fentanyl pain patch (also sold under brand names like Sandoz, Mylan, and Watson)
- OxyContin (also called oxycodone)
- Vicodin (also called hydrocodone)
- Dilaudid (also called hydromorphone)
- Complications and Injuries Associated with Prescription Painkillers
While prescription painkillers can greatly reduce the pain and discomfort associated with many disorders, conditions, and surgeries, they must be properly prescribed and used. If not, they can pose extreme risks to a patient’s health and may even put their life at risk. In addition to being habit forming, these painkillers can also be dangerous when taken in high doses, and some physicians have been known to prescribe unnecessarily high doses to patients to reduce their pain – possibly increasing their chances of having an overdose.
If patients are treated with prescription painkillers like these for longer than is necessary, then the risk of addiction rises significantly, as well. Likewise, if a patient is not a good candidate for an opioid painkiller, prescribing it can be incredibly dangerous. For example, patients with pulmonary issues or sleep apnea should not be prescribed these types of drugs.
These aren’t the only complications of opioid painkiller prescriptions, either. A common practice is known as opioid rotation – in which a doctor will change a patient’s prescription from one powerful opioid to another – can result in serious health risks. The two drugs may interact in a way that harms the patient, or the new medication is stronger or weaker than the old one. In either case, the patient’s health will be at risk.
Legislation has passed on both state and federal levels to try to fight this rising epidemic of overdoses, illness, and death due to opioid painkillers, but unfortunately, a lot of doctors continue to jeopardize their patients’ health and lives through excessive dosing and other practices.
Patients Negatively Affected by Opioid Painkillers May Be Able to Seek Legal Restitution
Have you been injured or harmed by an overdose or inappropriate prescription of opioid painkillers? Or has one of your family members or another loved one been injured or killed by opioid over-prescription? You may be eligible to pursue legal restitution by filing a lawsuit against the responsible doctor or hospital.
Powerful opioid painkillers are often safely prescribed by pain specialists who have the necessary experience in administering these kinds of drugs to ensure patient safety. However, many general physicians and other doctors who don’t have the necessary training and skills to prescribe strong prescription painkillers are also prescribing them to their patients. Furthermore, studies have found that most physicians and doctors who do not have a background or specialization in pain and pain management have difficulty prescribing the correct dosage. These errors can and do result in injuries and death, and when they do the doctor or hospital could be at fault.
At the Heavens Law Firm, our attorneys are some of the nation’s most skilled and experienced at handling cases for clients who have suffered due to opioid painkillers. We have years of combined experience in prosecuting medical malpractice cases involving hydrocodone, Vicodin, oxycodone, OxyContin, hydromorphone, methadone, Fentanyl, and other opioid painkillers, and we’re here for you to help you with your legal needs.
For a free consultation and to find out if you qualify to file a lawsuit, please contact us today. You can either fill out our free case evaluation form on this page, or you can call us toll-free at 1(888) 897-5377.