Positive Outlook – Issue 17 – March 2017

FAQ: Medical Malpractice Concerning Narcotic Pain Medication Addiction

FAQ: If a patient gets addicted to a narcotic pain medication, who’s fault is it and could it be considered medical malpractice?

To figure out if a patient’s addiction to pain medications constitutes medical malpractice, you have to prove that the patient’s doctor was negligent. This means that the doctor did not act reasonably in treating the patient.

Opiate overdosing is a growing problem in the United States. As a result, the number of addicted people continues to increase throughout the country as do opiate-related suicides and deaths.  In Montgomery County, PA, where Positive Physicians Insurance Company is based, the death toll by opiate overdosing increased by 123% this year.

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IME Insurance Malpractice Suit-Adams vs. Gelman

Adams v. Gelman, concerning IME Insurance, was decided on November 10, 2016. The case involved three insurance claimants who jointly filed a lawsuit against a Delaware physician claiming that his work for insurance companies over decades, and perceived bias in favor of those companies, amounted to fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, battery, racketeering, and conspiracy. The trial court dismissed the case, determining not only that the physician’s actions were protected by the legal principle of witness immunity but also that none of these claims were legally valid. Plaintiffs appealed on the issue of fraud only and the Delaware Supreme Court affirmed, agreeing with the lower court that the physician’s actions did not amount to fraud.

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