This case takes place in Alabama where several patients were treated by the defendant with long term opioid therapy, with more than 10 patients having died either as a result of drug abuse or acute overdose. The defending physician allegedly was aware that his patients were abusing the drugs he prescribed, and was prescribing much higher doses than what is considered medically appropriate. The decedent’s estates wished to recover damages from the physician in civil court, and required a toxicology expert to assess the potential physiological effects of long term opioid abuse.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Are you available to review medical records as to the issue of causation ( abuse or over prescription)?
- 2. Do you have experience working on similar clinical pharmacology or neuropharmacology cases?
Expert Witness Response E-000791
I have worked on a number of similar cases in the past. I have been on both sides (Defense and plaintiff) depending on the issues in the case. I am presently the director of the Central Ohio Poison Center and am formerly the director of the Kentucky Regional Poison Center. I am Board Certified in Toxicology by the American Board of Applied Toxicology, an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Clinical Toxicology and an Assistant Professor at Ohio State University, College of Medicine. I remain active both clinically and in research, with more than 280 publications relating to toxicology and 30 years experience in the field of toxicology.
Expert Witness Response E-001445
Yes, I am available to review the medical records of these patients. Opiates are rather old medications and have been used for many years, primarily for acute and chronic pain. The adverse effects of this class of medication is well documented and should be well known by all physicians regardless of their medical speciality. Persons administering these drugs, including non-physicians, such as paramedics, supposedly are trained in the side effects. It is totally irresponsible to prescribe such drugs without informing a patient of the side effects and potential lethality. The frequency of dosing should be explained in elementary terms to the patient and the caretakers by the physician. It is clearly his/her duty to emphasize the dangers that opiates have. In addition, the health care worker should learn and be aware of the patient’s limitations of knowledge as well as the environment in which he/she lives.