21 Jun Proactively Defend Malpractice Claims with the Opioid Defense Task Force
Doctors are facing greater scrutiny for injuries and deaths related to opioids, which have been increasing at an exponential rate, and now is the time to act. Don’t wait until you are served with a lawsuit to evaluate the policies and procedures of your practice. Our Opioid Defense Task Force has the expertise to help you identify areas of vulnerability, and the experience to help you implement policies to reduce your exposure.
The Opioid Epidemic
According to the Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”), overdose deaths have quadrupled since 1999.Fatal overdoses arenot the only risk related to prescription pain medications. Misuse, abuse, and opioid use disorder (addiction) are also potential dangers. Notably, these injuries and deaths are not confined to those people who may fit the stereotype of a drug addict. To the contrary, the CDC reports that an estimated 1 in 5 patients with non-cancer pain or pain-related diagnoses are prescribed opioids in an office-based setting, and at least half of them obtain the prescription from their primary care provider.
Fertile Ground for Liability
This exponential increase in opioid use – and abuse – has left health care providers unsure as to how to proceed. Doctors are facing liability both for prescribing too much as well as too little, and many report having insufficient training in pain management. Jurors are concerned about opioids too, and they are sending the message with their verdicts. In St. Louis, for example, a jury awarded $17.6 million in a case where a city employee was prescribed more than 37,000 pain pills between 2008 and 2012, at levels far above those recommended by the CDC.
The HBS Opioid Defense Task Force
At Hall Booth Smith, PC, we recognize the unique threats posed by the opioid epidemic, and we are prepared to help healthcare providers deter and defend against opioid-related malpractice claims. As Alex Booth, founding member of HBS, recently stated, “our firm is investing a significant amount of time, energy, and resources into this task force to ensure that our clients receive the highest quality legal representation, especially in developing areas of law.” Don’t wait until you are sued to evaluate your opioid practices and procedures. Instead, contact a member of our task force so that we can work together to ensure that your practice is well-positioned to defend these types of claims.
 CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/epidemic/index.html, last accessed Jun. 20, 2017.
SeeBrian Koon, and Michelle Koon v. Henry D. WALDEN, M.D., SLH Vista, Inc. (f/k/a Tenet HealthSystem SL, Inc.), d/b/a St. Louis University Hospital, and Saint Louis University, Circuit Court of Missouri, St. Louis County (Dec. 16, 2014).