About Lawsuits published a story this week on a new medical malpractice lawsuit that has been filed against a hospital and three doctors following the death of one of their former patients. The suit was initiated by the wife of a man who died after she claims he was given an overdose of the drug methadone. The victim claims that her husband would still be alive if the doctors involved had properly administered the drug. The medical professional's failure to do so spurred her to file this wrongful death lawsuit seeking accountability for the misconduct that led to his death. Per the details laid out in the newly filed complaint, the plaintiff's husband died two years ago after being admitted to the defendant-hospital. The man entered the facility's emergency room in early June of that year after suffering a variety of problems. The victim had a history of substance abuse issues, and had previously taken larger amounts of alcohol, Ambien, and Xanax. As a result of the man's previous issues, his doctor made the mistaken assumption that the victim as taking a rather large 100mg prescription of methadone each day. The physician's medicinal miscalculation led him to prescribe the man 40 mg of methadone. Compounding the problem, the following day the victim was transferred to a second hospital where the doctor there gave him another 50mg dosage of methadone. The victim was unable to withstand the complications from the drug overdose. He died five days after he was first brought to the emergency room. An autopsy after the victim's passing revealed that the man died of anoxic encephalopathy caused by a methadone overdose. Subsequent investigations into the incident revealed that from the very beginning, lab work on the man showed that he was not on methadone. Therefore it is unclear what exactly led the physicians to conclude otherwise. This is especially unusual considering the risks that the drug presents to patients. Methadone is a powerful opioid used as a painkiller. The problems with the substance have increased as of late. The U.S. Center for Health Statistics explains that the number of methadone related overdoses increased four hundred percent in the five year period from 1999 to 2004, up to nearly 4,000. The majority of those deaths were accidental, often caused by use in combination with other drugs. The physicians involved in this case should clearly have known of the risks presented with mistaken prescriptions of methadone.
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