Did two different family physicians, operating out of the Cleveland Clinic, contribute to the deaths of three of their patients from opioid overdoses?
Their survivors believe so. As such, they've filed lawsuits against the doctors for malpractice and against the Cleveland Clinic for negligence for its failure to properly watch what its doctors are doing.
One of the victims was a 68-year-old retiree who suffered from a variety of painful ailments and injuries from his career as a trucker and several accidents. He died sitting in his living room chair of an accidental overdose of OxyContin. It was his second overdose in eight months.
The other victims include a 57-year-old woman who accidentally overdosed on oxycodone and a 54-year-old woman who died of an accidental overdose of alprazolam, oxycodone and hydrocodone combined. In all three cases, their family members say that the victims suffered signs of addiction well before their deaths. Family members tried to express their concerns to doctors, saying that the patients were growing intoxicated on the medication, taking more than was prescribed and even trying to get refills earlier than they were due. In all three cases, the doctors failed to heed the warnings they were given and did nothing to address the possibility of addiction with their patients.
Lawsuits related to opioid dependency, addiction and death may be the next big wave of medical malpractice and wrongful death cases throughout the nation. The number of people in the United States who suffer from opioid addiction is estimated to be in the millions -- and the majority started their addictions through prescriptions.
All too often, patients were misled about the dangers of opioid use and the potential for addiction -- which is high even when the drugs are used appropriately.
If your loved one died due to an overdose of medication and you believe the prescribing physician authorized too much medication or ignored warning signs of trouble, an attorney can help you understand your rights and options.