Just when you thought you were going in for routine dental work or a simple day surgery, you are issued a Fentanyl (Duragesic) patch for pain and either suffer drastic side effects or overdose and die.
Modern medical science has advanced at light speed over the years and when pain patches were introduced to the market, there were cheers from pain sufferers the world over.
Much like the idea behind the stop smoking patches, Fentanyl patches are loaded with a powerful pain killer that is supposed to be dispersed in the body in a controlled manner. This doesn’t always happen and the results have the potential to be deadly.
Just recently there was a case in the papers about a young lad with autism who went for some basic dental work at a local hospital and had a tooth pulled. He was sent home with a Fentanyl pain patch and found dead in his bed the next morning. He’d suffered a drug overdose as a direct result of the patch.
In the resulting court case, the hospital admitted that it should never have issued the patch to the young man and that he somehow received the highest dose available. There were no safeguards in place to prevent an incident like this from happening. Medical malpractice cases such as this tend to make good media fodder for their spectacular facts. The sad thing here is this death could have been prevented.
Shockingly, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) admits that wrong prescription of the Fentanyl patch is a persistent problem across the United States. The fact of the matter is that the FDA has received numerous reports of life threatening adverse events and deaths.
In response to the adverse reaction reports, the FDA issued a warning to consumers that this patch was only for use by individuals with a high tolerance for drugs like morphine. Despite this warning, issued first in 2005, the FDA still receives adverse reaction reports.
Of course this may lead you to wonder why these patches are still on the market and only get recalled when there seems to be a problem – such as cuts in the patch that allows it to leak into the skin faster than it should.
The unfortunate thing is that physicians are not using this drug properly and are handing it out to individuals after surgery, for mild or occasional pain and for headaches. None of these situations warrants the use of the powerful Fentanyl patch.
Medical negligence? Medical recklessness? Medical oblivion about to how to administer drugs correctly? All these questions need to be discussed with a medical malpractice attorney.
The pain and suffering of a family faced with the death of a loved one due to using this patch (or any other drug that causes death) is not easily dealt with and only an experienced attorney is able to outline how cases such as this are handled and what the family may expect.
In many instances like this it’s not just the physicians or dentists or other medical professionals who may be sued, it’s the hospital where the procedure took place. The whole situation points out glaring holes in how hospitals administer medications. Put another way, it’s conspicuously bad.
Tim Anderson works with Atlanta Personal Injury attorney, Stephen M. Ozcomert. The firm specializes in personal injury, malpractice, motorcycle accidents, and wrongful death. To learn more about Atlanta personal injury lawyer, Stephen M. Ozcomert, visit Ozcomert.com.