Can anything be done about a family nurse practitioner not following opioid prescribing guidelines which resulted in a patient’s death?

Hi, I was wondering if there’s
anything that can be done about a
nurse practitioner who was
prescribing someone oxycodone,
sleeping pills and depression
medication for the past 8 years.
They recently added three other
pain killers including morphine.
They told the patient to come back
two months later for a follow up,
after just having adding another
opioid. The patient passed away
three weeks after being prescribed
the morphine, The death was ruled
as an accident. The nurse didn’t
have the patient sign an informed
consent or drug contract and was
also a client of the patient. This
happened in Tucson Arizona.

Asked on July 1, 2017 under Malpractice Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

1) You can file a complaint with your state's medical or nursing licensing board, which will not result in compensation, but may result in some measure of justice, if her license is taken away or suspended.
2) A spouse or dependent may be able to file a wrongful death claim based on medical malpractice (on one or more of overprescribing; prescribing the wrong drug[s]; not monitoring drug interactions or following up sufficiently; and/or not informing the patient of the risks or getting informed consent). To explore such an option, the immediate family should consult with a medical malpractice attorney; many such lawyers provide a free initial consultation to evaluate a case, and you can confirm this before making an appointment.


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