Opioid Abuse: Are Doctors Liable for Pain Medication Addiction?

The opioid crisis has ravaged much of the United States and Canada over recent years. Opioid abuse stems from a medical over-reliance on opioid prescriptions for pain treatment. In the face of new and emerging treatments for post-surgery patients, those with chronic pain, and individuals with ongoing medical needs, the need for consistent opioid prescriptions is lessening. However, opioids are still heavily relied upon by many medical professionals, leaving patients to wonder whether they’re responsible in the face of addiction. 

The doctor’s responsibility

When it comes to issues like medical malpractice and medical error, laws can seem vague and difficult to parse. Opioid addiction can impact not only the addict and their mental health, but also their friends and family members. While it may seem logical to place the blame directly on the prescribing health care provider, successfully arguing a medical malpractice case is often much more difficult. In these instances, it needs to be clearly shown that a health care provider has failed to uphold their duty to properly treat the patient or has acted with impropriety. Malpractice is much easier to prove in emergency room errors or issues with a common medical procedure that cause a resulting injury or wrongful death. Of course, a medical malpractice verdict isn’t always favorable either. 

Malpractice is still hazy, especially where opioid addiction is concerned. If you believe that you’re the victim of medical malpractice, it’s important to seek the advice of medical malpractice attorneys or a medical malpractice lawyer. Often, an attorney will provide a free consultation to determine if you were susceptible to medical negligence. Maybe you were over-prescribed by a medical care provider. Perhaps your medical records weren’t taken into account when you were placed on an opioid like methadone. Understanding medical malpractice lawsuits and the legal help required to receive the best verdict possible is important. Even if your legal team is composed of the best lawyers, you need to have a robust argument covering the errors in your medical treatment. 

Seeking treatment

For an injured patient who has experienced opioid addiction or methadone addiction, finding the right standard of care to treat your underlying issue is important. Regardless of the medical mistakes involved, you need to seek addiction treatment. This is especially important if you suffer from high levels of alcohol use. Many Ontario addiction treatment centres offer programs that assist with positive methadone treatment outcomes. Frequently, the assessment of treatment outcomes is done through comprehensive health care that looks at the progress of the injured patient. This may include medical practitioners taking urine samples for the treatment of opioid addiction. If there is an underlying medical condition, this may be part of the assessment of treatment outcomes. To achieve favorable methadone treatment outcomes, the patient needs to be compliant with the program regardless of the resulting injury caused by negligence. 

While there are medical bills and other medical expenses associated with the treatment of opioid addiction, you’re within your legal rights to consult a medical expert for ways to better afford your standard of care. Seeking treatment is incredibly important since opioid addiction can cause numerous birth injuries including cerebral palsy. For women, you’re not only seeking treatment for yourself, but you’re protecting yourself against the need for genetic testing on your child. 

Opioid addiction is a damaging medical condition that can stem from negligence and other medical mistakes including over-prescription. Read up on medical malpractice lawsuits and medical malpractice cases before you contact an attorney so you know how to discuss your specific issues. If you believe your opioid addiction is the result of medical malpractice, you need to act quickly to receive both financial and non-economic damages and seek the required treatment.

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