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Bob Carroll
Bob Carroll
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Death By Duragesic

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A patient in Tampa Bay who was provided prescriptions by his treating physician for over twice the proper number of Duragesic Patches, in increasingly more potent doses, was found dead by his wife on his living room couch in Florida.

Had the doctor taken his patient on a downward spiral of narcotic addiction and dependence…?

The medical records of the prescribing doctor held the answer to this question. In the records there was documentation of the prescription of other narcotics and respiratory depressants in doses that, according to a well-qualified pharmacology expert, were “incompatible with life” in combination with the excessive Duragesic Patches.

A patient in Tampa Bay who was provided prescriptions by his treating physician for over twice the proper number of Duragesic Patches, in increasingly more potent doses, was found dead by his wife on his living room couch in Florida.

A Duragesic Patch applied to the skin is designed to slowly release a potent narcotic painkiller over a 72 hour period. A doctor is obligated by law and the standards of the medical profession to carefully prescribe and monitor the use of narcotic painkillers, including the Duragesic Patch.

It is well recognized that addiction and dependency can occur with excessive use of Duragesic Patches as with any strong narcotic. And, so can respiratory depression, which can cause “death by Duragesic.”

The death of the Florida patient was not a surprise to me except that the victim was found with a Duragesic Patch in his mouth instead of on his arm.

To the prescribing doctor and his defense attorney it was clearly a case of suicide or abuse of the prescribed narcotic, not medical malpractice. What was it?

There had been no indication of suicidal thoughts or attempts. More likely, it was, instead, an irrational attempt to ingest a prescribed narcotic to which the patient had become hopelessly addicted.

Had the doctor taken his patient on a downward spiral of narcotic addiction and dependence and have caused the irrational act?

The medical records of the prescribing doctor held the answer to this question. In the records there was documentation of the prescription of other narcotics and respiratory depressants in doses that, according to a well-qualified pharmacology expert, were “incompatible with life” in combination with the excessive Duragesic Patches.

The records, which were amazingly meticulous, documented a five or six month acceleration of combination drug use and over-prescribing. The physician, who claimed to be a specialist in pain management, elected not to defend his medical practices before a jury.