Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf is a New York Plaintiff's personal injury law firm specializing in automobile accidents, construction accidents, medical malpractice, products liability, police misconduct and all types of New York personal injury litigation.
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Should a doctor be sued for medical malpractice if his or her patient dies from opioid overdose?

Diane HoffmanCan medical malpractice lawsuits help reduce opioid addiction?  In a recent opinion in the New York Times Diane Hoffman  a law professor and the director of the Law and Health Care program at the University of Maryland’s Francis King Carey School of Law is warning about the consequences of erroneous criminal prosecutions of doctors who treat chronic pain patients. While she agrees that bad actors who are over prescribing drugs for profit should be punished, she worries that good doctors may under threat their patients for fear of being investigated and prosecuted.  While she recognizes that opioid addiction and abuse is a major issue that should be addressed by law enforcement, she also believes that the 100 million American patients who are suffering from serious pain condition shouldn’t be under treated. We agree that doctors who specialize in treating patients for chronic pain should not be subject to criminal prosecution. However, those doctors who run so called prescription mills and write narcotic prescriptions for anyone who walks in the door should be criminally prosecuted. Doctors who have no training in the field of pain medication and over prescribe narcotics resulting in fatal overdoses may be liable for medical malpractice. The fact is that lawyers who specialize in medical malpractice will not bring these cases unless the prescribing doctor blatantly over prescribed without any medical basis. Ms. Lane’s statement that doctors who under prescribe pain medication may be subject to medical malpractice law suits is based on one 15 year old case in which a doctor was found liable for elder abuse for under prescribing pain medication to an elderly man dying of cancer. In reality these types of cases are rarely brought.