08 September

Opioid pain relievers such as Oxycodone and Vicodin are often prescribed to treat chronic or long-term pain. It’s no secret that the United States has an opioid crisis, but how are people getting access to these controlled substances when they require a prescription and are highly regulated? The two ways people get them are either obtaining them through illegal means such as theft or buying them on the streets, or a doctor prescribes them.

It may seem hard to believe that an addict is still sometimes able to get opioid prescriptions, but it happens, even here in Hawaii where the rate of addiction is lower than other parts of the country. An opioid addict may go “doctor shopping” by going to different doctors to try to get a one-time prescription for pain. Or they have the same doctor giving them refills. A doctor may be committing medical malpractice by writing prescriptions for a patient who doesn’t need them and is being harmed by them. To make a case for medical malpractice, you must look at the facts to determine if a doctor or several doctors breached their duty of care to the patient.

Issues that need to be examined

There are many factors that need to be addressed and examined to make a case for medical malpractice in prescribing opioids including some of the following:

  • Necessity – was the prescription necessary to help the patient and was it the type of prescription that would ordinarily be written by other reasonable and prudent doctors for the same pain or personal injury?
  • Alternative treatments – were there alternative treatments or medication that could have avoided the need for opioids initially or after a certain length of time?
  • Dosage – was the prescription dosage higher than necessary?
  • Length of time – was the patient kept on the prescription for too long? Here you would look at how many times the prescription was refilled and whether (and how many) or not the doctor saw the patient between refills.
  • History of substance abuse – did the patient have a history of substance abuse that the doctor knew or should have known about?/
  • Doctor awareness – should the doctor have noticed that his/her patient was developing an addiction during his/her treatment?
  • Discussing the dangers – did the doctor discuss opioids and their dangerous potential for addiction with his/her patient?
  • Appropriate treatment – was the medicine prescribed appropriately? For example, yes the medicine may be known to cause sleepiness for some people, but that does not mean it should be prescribed as a sleep aid.

These and other factors will be considered when establishing a case for medical malpractice. If you or a loved one has developed an addiction to prescription opioids and you believe medical malpractice caused the addiction or enabled the addiction, you may want to seek compensation for your damages which may include claims for things such as job or money loss, injury, or even death. Recent cases have awarded millions of dollars to medical malpractice victims who were injured by prescription opioid addictions. Opioid addictions can be physical, emotionally, and financially devastating. If you believe medical malpractice in Hawaii caused or contributed to an opioid addiction, contact our medical malpractice attorney, Jed Kurzban, to schedule a consultation.

Contact jed kurzban

1003 Bishop Street, Suite 1600
Pauahi Tower
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

980-495-0046 305-444-3503

Miami Office
131 Madeira Ave
Coral Gables, FL 33134

305-444-0060 305-444-3503



Jed Kurzban Esq

Catastrophic Injury Attorney Hawaii

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    Catastrophic Injury Attorney Hawaii