The opioid epidemic in America is becoming more serious with each passing year. Opioid-related overdose deaths have been rising at a staggering rate; 2014 saw more than 28,000 deaths, though that number was quickly outpaced by the 33,000 overdose deaths in 2015. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than half a million people died from drug overdoses between 2000 and 2015, a rate of 91 deaths each and every day.
There is some debate over how much blame to assign to prescribing practices in the past. In some cases, the opioid prescriptions are undoubtedly appropriate; in others, their use is determined on a case-by-case basis. As in all things, however, there are outliers; some physicians are worse offenders than others. A recent bust in Nevada saw 74 counts of malpractice filed against a Dr. Robert Rand for allegedly running a “pill-mill.”
From the Reno Gazette-Journal:
“The malpractice complaint alleges Rand ‘violated the standards of practice in regard to opioid prescribing, practiced medicine beyond the scope of training and competence, engaged in unsafe and unprofessional conduct and maintained substandard medical records.’ The patients involved in the complaint were prescribed ‘massive amounts’ of highly addictive opioid narcotics, including doses at several times the ‘high dose threshold,’ the complaint said. Only one of the 18 patients in the complaint is described as deceased. Rand is charged in connection with the death of 33-year-old Michael Yenick, a former Manogue High School football player who died of alcohol and oxycodone intoxication.”
While Dr. Rand cools his heels in the Washoe County Jail, the Nevada Board of Medical Examiners is considering the evidence. That agency can strip Rand of his medical license, but they have no further powers. Instead, Rand will face criminal drug distribution charges down the road. At the moment, there’s a chance that Rand will be released from jail before the medical board has a chance to consider his case, leaving a potential criminal free to continue writing prescriptions indefinitely.
With great power comes great responsibility
Healthcare providers are held to higher standard of care for a reason; they are entrusted with the health (and by extension, the lives) of the people they treat. This trust, and the powers that go with it (the ability to prescribe otherwise dangerous substances to treat legitimate illnesses), come at a high cost- obtaining a doctorate takes money, time, and a great deal of discipline. Sometimes, medical professionals forget that with great power comes great responsibility; when they do, real people suffer serious consequences.
If your loved one has been the victim of medical negligence or misdiagnosis, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other damages. The experienced Kentucky and Ohio medical malpractice lawyers at Crandall & Pera Law can evaluate your case and help get you the compensation you need. For a free consultation, call our Ohio legal team at 877.686.8879, our Kentucky legal team at 877.651.7764, or contact us today.