We are learning that the Medical Board of California is investigating doctors who prescribed opioids to patients that then went on to suffer fatal overdoses. What makes this investigation more significant than others is that they are even investigating cases in which the patients overdosed months or years after the initial prescription.
The opioid crisis has reached a tipping point in the US and people are searching for answers. It is well known now that many people become addicted to more powerful drugs like heroin and propofol after they have become addicted to prescription painkillers that were legally prescribed.
Now, this investigation, called “the Death Certificate Project,” is looking into the source of those prescriptions for wrongdoing. The state wants to know if these healthcare providers are playing a role in the deaths of patients.
Edward “Skip” Babbitt is watching this case closely. Are doctors intentionally causing addictions for profit reasons? If they are, then it would seem that these doctors are contributing to their deaths as well. Skip is a San Diego wrongful death attorney who understands this could be a complex issue.
What Is at Stake
We know that the state medical board has been busy with this investigation so far. There have been investigations into around 450 physicians and the names of 72 nurse practitioners, Pas, and osteopathic physicians have been turned over to their boards.
How far will these investigations go?
23 doctors have been formally accused of “negligent prescribing” at this point, but the article says that more cases are expected.
Many doctors are pushing back against this investigation, calling it a “witch hunt.” As a consequence, they claim that many doctors are no longer prescribing patients painkillers, even if they need them out of fear of reprisals down the line.
They argue that it is hard to link a physician to liability for a patient they had months or years prior to overdosing on painkillers or illegal substances.
The state board says that their investigations have been thorough. Investigators match the names of those who overdose to prescription drugs they had filled. Physician experts then review the doctors’ prescribing history. They only target those who heavily prescribe opioids.
Moving Forward from Here
This continuing investigation will certainly upset many people in the healthcare community, but it does get to the source of where many opioid addictions start. While we recognize that not all doctors who prescribe opioids do so maliciously, there seem to be many cases in which the doctor was negligent in their duties.
If this negligence leads to a person’s death, should the doctor be held accountable?
Edward “Skip” Babbitt is ready to help if you have lost a loved one due to another person’s negligence. When you need a wrongful death attorney in San Diego, he will be by your side, fighting to get the compensation your family deserves. You can contact us by clicking here or calling 619-543-1789 for a free consultation.