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Excessive fentanyl, painkiller prescriptions caused patient’s overdose death, malpractice lawsuit alleges

A Hawaii family has filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against a physician in connection with the fentanyl overdose death of one of his patients. The family of Honolulu hedge fund manager Thomas O’Brien filed the lawsuit against Dr. Steve Rogoff and Hale Lea Medicine for allegedly prescribing hundreds of doses of fentanyl and other opioid painkillers despite clear evidence of addiction that eventually resulted in a fatal overdose.

According to the lawsuit filed by the family, O’Brien first visited Dr. Rogoff in January 2011 complaining of chronic back pain from a lumbar disk problem. He allegedly asked the doctor to refill a painkiller prescription he had received from another doctor. O’Brien was severely addicted to narcotic painkillers, according to the attorney who filed the lawsuit on behalf of his family. After this initial visit, Dr. Rogoff allegedly wrote a prescription for O’Brien for the narcotic painkiller Norco even though he did not perform an examination to assess the patient’s back problems.

The lawsuit details a number of incidents which occurred over the subsequent weeks in with O’Brien received refills or new painkiller prescriptions despite limited examinations from Dr. Rogoff at Hale Lea. Two days after O’Brien’s initial visit, Dr. Rogoff prescribed Valium for anxiety without conducting an additional examination. A few weeks later, the patient received several prescription refills from the clinic. Two days later, he returned and was given a prescription for the fentanyl pain patch—an extremely potent painkiller—in order to treat bunions. One month later, O’Brien received more fentanyl patches from the clinic in order to treat shingles and tooth pain.

Although Dr. Rogoff noted the possibility that O’Brien was addicted to narcotic painkillers, he continued to issue prescriptions for fentanyl, Norco, and other medications. Dr. Rogoff’s notes in O’Brien’s file indicate that he was taking 500 or 600 doses of opioid medications per month.

The final prescription written by Dr. Rogoff for Thomas O’Brien was for the fentanyl pain patch. A few weeks later, O’Brien was found dead of a fentanyl overdose with two pain patches on his arm.

The lawsuit filed by O’Brien’s family against Dr. Rogoff and Hale Lea alleged medical malpractice, wrongful death, medical negligence, and gross negligence for the dozens of painkiller prescriptions he received during his treatment.

Heygood, Orr & Pearson and Opioid Prescription Painkiller Lawsuits

Families who have lost a loved one to an overdose caused by excessive prescriptions for fentanyl or other opioid painkillers may be able to file a lawsuit on their behalf against the doctor or medical facility responsible for these excess prescriptions. The first step in filing a lawsuit is to speak with an experienced attorney about your case.

The attorneys at Heygood, Orr & Pearson have successfully handled more cases involving fentanyl overdose deaths than all the other firms in the country combined. Our firm has won millions in verdicts and settlements on behalf of clients who died from an overdose of fentanyl or from a combined drug overdose caused by the interaction of fentanyl products with other CNS depressant medications. Our firm also has the experience and knowledge to handle cases on behalf of victims of overdoses involving hydromorphone, methadone, oxycodone (OxyContin), and other opioid painkillers.

Many opioid overdoses are caused by malpractice on the part of doctors or other medical staff who provide painkiller medications to patients. Many doctors who prescribe opioids have little or no experience with pain management, and may prescribe drugs that are too powerful or at higher doses than what a patient needs.

For more information about filing a lawsuit involving overdoses caused by fentanyl or other opioid painkillers, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson for a free legal consultation. You can reach us by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, by completing our free case evaluation form located at the top of this page.

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