Who Is Liable When Someone Overdoses On Prescription Medication?
With recent reports of music artist Prince's death being linked to prescription medication and overdosing, it has brought up one question: who is liable for this? Is it possible that someone else could be responsible for the action of the individual? Here is a look at the details of overdosing and prescription medication.
The Prescription Medication Abuse Epidemic
Abusing prescription medication is becoming a worldwide epidemic. In the United States, 15 million people abuse prescription drugs. Forty-five percent of overdoses are caused by prescription medication, which is more than the percentage of people overdosing on the most dangerous illegal drugs. Is this really the fault of the individuals? Is someone else liable for the overdosing?
Doctors Can Be Held Liable
There are cases where doctors have been held liable for overdosing. The most famous case was after the death of Michael Jackson in 2013, when his personal doctor Conrad Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.
While Murray didn't administer the drug that killed Jackson, he had been involved in the addiction to the drug. He had helped Jackson grow reliant on propofol to sleep and feel calm.
The argument for many is that doctors know how addictive prescription medication can be. They understand the damaging effects medications can have, even though they are initially prescribed to treat injuries, diseases, and conditions. Doctors owe a duty of care to their patients.
It Depends on the Overdose
Sometimes only the person who took the medication can be held liable for their actions. This is the case when the overdose was taken knowingly and purposely, such as in an act of suicide.
There are also times that patients ignore the advice of their doctors. Sometimes doctors will refuse to prescribe any more drugs and encourage their patients to get help. Doctors do everything in their power to prevent the overdose of prescription medication, but the patients go elsewhere and may get medication through illegal means.
There have also been cases where patients don't take their medication, without their doctors realizing. When later given a dose, they overdose because doctors get the wrong amount. It would then be the fault of the patient for lying about taking medication that the body hadn't experienced.
Negligence and liability will depend on the situation. It is important to discuss your case with an experienced attorney. The attorney will be able to look into the full details of the case to see if someone else was liable for the incident and to file a wrongful death claim.