Can prescribing controlled substances to a known addict considered malpractice?

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Can prescribing controlled substances to a known addict considered malpractice?

My wife recently came out of a stay at a drug rehab facility. She had
an opioid, xanax, and ambien addiction. While in the facility, I
contacted her prescribing doctor and stated that my wife was not to
receive prescriptions for an opioids, benzo family of drugs, nor
ambien or ambien like medication. The doctor agreed, made the note in
her chart and cancelled the current prescriptions. I just learned that
the doctor has since written her a script for Ambien. Would this be
considered malpractice?

Asked on April 10, 2017 under Malpractice Law, Indiana

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Medical malpractice is negligence.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable medical practitioner in the community would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).
Although it may appear that the doctor's action was malpractice, in order to have a viable medical malpractice case, a documented injury is required.  If your wife did not take Ambien that the doctor prescribed and therefore did not have a relapse of her addiction or other adverse consequences, there is no medical malpractice case without a documented injury.
 


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