Illegal Prescription Writing Is Medical Malpractice April 13, 2010.

The last thing anyone expects a doctor to do is illegally write prescriptions. When patients OD on the drugs, this is a serious matter.

This is a very bizarre case that came out of Kansas just a while back, involving a doctor and his wife/nurse. Both were indicted for directly contributing to at least 21 deaths and 68 fatal overdoses as a result of writing illegal prescriptions. They evidently also had other illegal methods to generate revenue as well, which included money laundering and defrauding health insurance.

The upshot of this case is that the doctor and his nurse/wife gave patients prescription refills even if they had overdosed on the same medication before. Other questionable acts also included missing and incomplete medical records for patients, allowing inexperienced physician’s assistants who were not properly supervised to dispense medication, leaving signed blank prescription pads lying around and forging the doctor’s name on other prescriptions.

Evidently the doctor’s woes started as far back as 2007 when the doctor and his wife were arrested for illegally prescribing drugs, money laundering and defrauding health insurance programs and patients. Under investigation since that time, the recent indictment is the culmination of three years of hard work by local police. It’s also alleged that from 2002 to 2007 alone, patients of the doctor and his wife who died due to a drug overdose comprised 18% of all overdose deaths in that particular county and surrounding areas.

When things like this happen, it undermines the credibility of doctors as a whole. While they may be human, most doctors uphold a very high ethical standard and practice according to the Hippocratic Oath – "First, do no harm." Although the actual words are not first, do no harm, but state "I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone. I will not give a lethal drug to anyone if I am asked, nor will I advise such a plan."
On the surface it does look like the doctor and his wife strayed way over the line of being ethical, responsible and trustworthy. If the facts of the case are as stated, they deliberately set out to harm patients in order to make money. It will be interesting to see how this turns out, as it appears that even though this doctor had a prior record, he wasn’t disciplined.

Based on statistics, it’s fairly reasonable to assume that at least 1% of US doctors deserve some serious discipline yearly. That means that as a conservative estimate, there would be roughly 7,703 doctors on the carpet every year, a number that way outstrips the actual number that do get reprimanded.

If you suspect something isn’t quite right with the doctor you see and you have overdosed on a medication only to get the same one again from the same physician, or you’ve had a procedure go wrong, a delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis, it’s time to talk to a Cleveland medical malpractice lawyer. We will discuss your case and if there are the right elements to constitute medical malpractice, we will consider filing a lawsuit.