Fentanyl is a powerful opioid pain-killer that is often delivered through a skin patch. It is significantly more powerful than morphine.
FDA Has Warned Of The Dangers Of The Fentanyl Patch
Since 2005, the Food and Drug Administration has issued warnings about the dangers of the fentanyl patch. Many patients have died while using the patch. In some of these cases, the fault was with the manufacturer. These deaths were caused by leaks in the patches through which an excessive amount of the drug was delivered, causing overdose. Several batches of the patches have been recalled over the years for defects of this sort.
In several other cases, the deaths were caused by physician error in prescribing the fentanyl patch.
A 15-year-old autistic boy in Washington died from a fentanyl overdose after being admitted to the hospital for a dental procedure. The boy had never taken opioids before, and the dentist prescribed him the strongest available patch.
Who Should Not Be Prescribed the Fentanyl Patch
Doctors should never prescribe the fentanyl patch for acute post-surgical pain, headache, or other mild or temporary pain. The FDA has warned that the patch is only for people who have developed opioid tolerance and who have chronic pain that is not being controlled by other less powerful medications.
Doctors must also be aware of potentially dangerous drug interactions when prescribing fentanyl. Furthermore, any physician prescribing fentanyl must warn the patient against using heat sources including heating pads, hot baths, saunas, steam rooms, hot tubs, and electric blankets. They should also be warned against sunbathing.
Improper Prescribing May Give Rise to a Claim for Medical Malpractice
When a doctor prescribes this dangerous and powerful drug and it causes harm or death to the patient, there often exists a cause of action for medical malpractice and/or wrongful death.
To have a legitimate medical malpractice claim, your doctor or pharmacist had to have been grossly negligent in prescribing the fentanyl patch.
In order to prove a medical malpractice case you must have a witness, an expert in the medical field or retlated area, that is willing to testify on your behalf. Without one there is no chance of trying, let alone winning, your case.
If you or a family member has been harmed or killed by an improperly prescribed fentanyl patch, an experienced medical malpractice lawyer will review your case to determine if medical malpractice was the cause. A doctor owes every patient a duty of care, which includes being aware of the manufacturer’s prescribing instructions as well as any FDA warnings and advisories that have been issued, and must advise the patient on how to avoid potential problems while taking the medication. When a doctor has failed to meet the accepted minimum standard of care, he or she can often be held accountable for the malpractice, and the patient and/or family may be able to receive money as compensation for their losses.
Jim Dodson is a Florida medical malpractice lawyer who has spent much of his long career helping victims of medical malpractice. Jim is available to review the facts of your case and will help you determine if you have a case against the doctor who made the error and caused the harm. Contact him online or call Give Jim a call at 888-207-0905. It is important not to wait too long, because Florida law limits the amount of time you have to file a malpractice claim.
Due to the nature of our small practice, we are unable to take every case, but we always strive to connect clients with the right attorney for them. We are happy to set up referrals to other attorneys who may be better suited to assist you.