The over prescribing of painkillers has become an epidemic in our country and is leading to serious addiction problems and death.
Philadelphia, PA (PRWEB) October 13, 2011
The personal injury attorneys of Console & Hollawell P.C. last month reached a $1.5 million settlement in the wrongful death case of a Philadelphia man against two Philadelphia area doctors who were accused of prescribing excessive amounts of prescription narcotic medication.
Trial in the case commenced on August 1, 2011 and concluded on August 15, 2011. Thereafter, the jury deliberated until August 18, 2011 and actually reached a verdict. According to Richard Hollawell, lead counsel for the decedent's family and co-counsel Alfred Falcione, the doctors finally agreed to a global settlement moments before the jury’s verdict was to be read and entered into the court record. In addition to the family’s claim for wrongful death, a claim for punitive damages was upheld and allowed for the jury’s consideration. Prior to the commencement of trial, a separate settlement in the amount of $165,000.00 was reached with the dispensing pharmacies.
According to court records, one of the doctors prescribed the victim an average monthly pill count of 320 Percocet, 160 Oxycontin and 120 Xanax over a two-year period, while the other doctor prescribed the man an average monthly pill count of 120 Percocet, 120 Oxycontin and 60 Xanax over a one-year period. The prescribing began in June of 2005 and the levels and the amounts of the medications being prescribed significantly increased on a monthly basis until the victim died in October of 2007.
Prior to being treated, the decedent had advised both doctors he suffered from a lifelong asthmatic condition. However, according to court documents, neither doctor ordered any lab work for the patient before or during the time he was under their care, nor did either doctor offer any type of treatment beyond prescribing extensive amounts of opiates.
According to an autopsy report, the victim died as a result of an adverse reaction to the excessive and lethal amounts of drugs he was being prescribed by the two doctors. The medical evidence indicated that there had been organ failure occurring months before the victim’s death that was completely ignored by both doctors who only continued to prescribed more narcotic medication.
The settlement in the Philadelphia doctors' case comes on the heels of the indictment of two former Western Colorado doctors facing similar charges in the deaths of four people1 . All throughout Florida there have been numerous deaths due to the over prescribing and over dispensing of narcotics in the last year. In the criminal arena, the involuntary manslaughter trial for Michael Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray, geared up with opening statements on September 26.
"The over prescribing of painkillers has become an epidemic in our country and is leading to serious addiction problems and death," said Hollawell, personal injury attorney and partner at Console & Hollawell. "It’s astounding that licensed medical professionals are continually disregarding the serious risks of narcotic pain medications. Even though justice was served in this case, money will never replace a beloved son, a brother and friend. That's the real tragedy here."
The names of the victim, the victim's family and the doctors are not being released due to terms of the settlement agreement.
1 United States Attorney's Office, District of Colorado, Two Former Western Colorado Doctors Indicted for Illegally Prescribing Controlled Substances, 8/9/11 http://www.justice.gov/usao/co/press_releases/2011/August2011/8_9_11.html
About Console & Hollawell, P.C. Personal Injury Attorneys
The Console & Hollawell, P.C. Pennsylvania and New Jersey Personal Injury Attorneys represent people who have been killed or seriously injured due to the negligence of others. Console & Hollawell has represented thousands of personal injury clients in the Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey areas since 1994. The firm's attorneys specialize in personal injury and liability cases. If you think you've got a personal injury case, visit http://www.ConsoleAndHollawell.com for more information.