Philadelphia Jury Awards $2.2M to Woman Over Excessive Opioid Prescriptions

As more opioid cases are going to trial across the country, a $2.2 million jury verdict in favor of a Philadelphia plaintiff establishes noteworthy precedent in excessive prescription claims.

Plaintiff Yvonne Rivera alleged that her pain management physician, Dr. Jeffrey Bado, treated her with “excessively high” doses of the powerful opioid painkiller Fentanyl to treat recurring foot pain starting in 2010.

The high doses continued even after the patient sometimes became nauseous and vomited during treatment, according to court documents.

Some of the medication was administered through an intravenous infusion port.  When the first port broke and had to be replaced twice, the patient developed septicemia both times. A fourth port was later successful. All four ports had been installed at Roxborough Memorial Hospital.

Plaintiff’s counsel argued that the doctor was “doubling down” on opiate prescriptions even as public health and law enforcement officials began to recognize a growing national crisis around opioid use. Rivera suffered from unnecessary surgeries, addiction, psychiatric and emotional injuries, memory loss, nightmares, anxiety, depression and post¬traumatic stress disorder, her attorneys said.

A former employee of Bado’s testified that the doctor’s practice was seeing about 70 patients per day on average and that many had pre-filled prescriptions that were waiting for them.

Bado’s attorneys argued that Rivera hadn’t been oversubscribed, and that she was attempting to use circumstantial evidence to leverage a criminal conviction amid the public’s intense interest in the opioid crisis. At the time of the three-week trial, Bado wasn’t able to attend proceedings because he was incarcerated for health care fraud and making false statements to federal agents.

The jury in the medical malpractice case, Rivera v. Roxborough Memorial Hospital, deliberated for three hours and concluded that the plaintiff should receive a total of $2.2 million, much of it earmarked for future medical expenses.

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