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Doctors who overprescribe put patients at risk of death

Prescription medication addiction is a growing problem in New Jersey. Unfortunately, a number of doctors and other health care providers who purposely overprescribe certain pain-relieving drugs are at the heart of the problem. The overprescription of opioid and narcotic drugs can have any number of consequences, including death. Yet, these medical professionals rarely face appropriate consequences for their roles in patients' injuries.

An out-of-state doctor who was penalized by his state's medical board for irresponsible and unchecked prescribing of narcotics and other painkillers tried to strike back when his misdeeds were exposed. In 2014, the doctor was effectively barred from writing prescriptions for various prescription drugs after it was discovered that he had been operating a pain clinic without the proper certification to do so.  Especially troubling were the high rates of prescriptions for painkillers discovered by the state's medical board, which found that, out of all of his patients, 97 percent had received and filled a narcotic prescription. He also ranked at the top of the list in his state for prescribing the medication hydrocodone.

One of his patients died from a prescription medication overdose in 2012, and the victim's mother filed a medical malpractice suit in 2013. The claim was eventually settled. In 2014, the doctor was included in a story that addressed the pressing issue of pain med addictions and the roles that some doctors play in the matter. He subsequently filed suit against the victim's mother, claiming that she had violated a settlement agreement that barred her from speaking to anyone about her child's death. He has never been able to produce the evidence for that claim, and many doubt that it was ever included in the settlement.

Medical malpractice can occur in a number of ways and is not always as clear-cut as some people in New Jersey expect it to be. Overprescribing medication to a patient -- whether purposefully or neglectfully -- is a serious violation of a patient's trust as well as acceptable standards of care. When death is a result of this negligence, doctors might not necessarily face criminal charges, but can usually be held accountable for their actions through a medical malpractice suit filed by surviving family members.

Source: houstonpress.com, "Disciplined Houston Doctor Sues Reporter For Writing About Him Being Disciplined", Craig Malisow, Jan. 14, 2016

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Alan D. Bell
650 Bloomfield Avenue, Suite 105
Bloomfield, NJ 07003

Phone: 973-233-4291
Phone: 973-743-7070

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