The opioid crisis: A medical negligence issue?

Date: Apr 14, 2020

Rising levels of opioid addiction – and the potentially deadly consequences thereof – are a major concern for health care professionals. People suffering from the effects of these drugs often receive them from their physicians. This raises questions of medical ethics. In what cases are opioid prescriptions given too easily or recklessly, potentially leading to serious harm?

The medical profession and the opioid crisis

The Age's report on rising opioid deaths in Australia pointed to the worrying link between inadequate medical services and dangerous prescriptions. In small towns, a potential lack of highly trained general practitioners is putting the population at risk. Doctors in these settings may not have the experience needed to make clear decisions regarding the need for opioid painkillers.

The challenge associated with these dangerous medications is that they are appropriate in some cases, so there's no way to remove them from the medical system entirely. The Age explained that opioids are a necessary source of relief for numerous people who suffer from chronic pain. Furthermore, as the average age of the population goes up across the country, the need for these medicines will likely go up, rather than down.

There is a national prescription monitoring system planned, yet it has been in development for years and still has not made its debut. Without this solution in place, it can be difficult for authorities to track the use of risky medicines. New South Wales in particular lags in data collection.

The scope of the opioid problem has become vast in Australia. The Australian Associated Press reported in 2018 that the amount of accidental deaths from prescription opioids accounted for three-fourths of all such incidents. Alongside the statistics, the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre's Amy Peacock explained that instead of illicit fentanyl or heroin, Australians were largely being harmed by doctor-prescribed opioids.

Medical negligence claims in NSW

If you or a loved one has been harmed by reckless or irresponsible medical care, you may be eligible for a settlement. Cases typically have to be brought within three years, unless there are extenuating circumstances, such as the harm being especially grave. If you can prove pain and suffering or loss of income and there is a direct link to negligent conduct by a medical professional, you could have grounds to begin a case.

When seeking damages in a medical negligence case, it can help to work with solicitors highly experienced in this field. To clarify whether your case i move forward, you can reach out and speak with the experts at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation Lawyers.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.