Ohio at the forefront of opioids like dilaudid overdose
If a loved one has died as a result of a prescription overdose, seek the expertise of a Dilaudid overdose lawyer in Cleveland, OH. We at Mishkind Kulwicki Law Co., L.P.A will help walk you through this distressing time by informing you of everything you need to know about Dilaudid overdose and if you have a case.
Ohio is unfortunately at the forefront of the painkiller overdose epidemic. In 2016, the number of unintentional overdoses rose 33% to 4,050 in Ohio. Out of those deaths, 13.9% of people died as a direct result of overdosing on prescription painkillers. An unprecedented amount of lives are lost each year due to this health crisis. When a loved one overdoses or wrongfully dies as a result of taking too many prescription painkillers, it is a tragic loss. You may not have even known that they had a problem with addiction. You’re thinking, “what happened,” and “how did I not know?”
What is Dilaudid?
Dilaudid (hydromorphone) is a popular painkiller. Hospitals give it to patients who are undergoing surgical procedures. Doctors prescribe it for people who live in chronic pain. It literally changes how your body responds to pain signals from the brain. In some ways, it is a miracle drug.
But it also has a very high rate of dependency, and can lead to a number of serious side effects, including fatal respiratory depression. When doctors fail to monitor their patients who have been given Dilaudid, or mistake Dilaudid for morphine – a common prescription error – they run the risk of their patients dying from an overdose that could have been avoided or “fixed” through proper care. And so Dilaudid becomes not a cure for pain, but a pathway to potential fatalities.
What are the statistics?
Much research has been done over the last few decades regarding the risks of an overdose. The Ohio Association of Justice claims, “of the studied opioid related adverse drug events, 47% were wrong dose errors and 29% were improper monitoring.” In most cases, these dosage errors are caused by confusing hydromorphone with morphine. According to one 2010 study by the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Advisory, “analysis of wrong drug medication errors mentioning Hydromorphone reveals that 70% involve mix-ups with morphine”.
While any mix-up is dangerous, this one is especially so. Dilaudid is about seven times stronger than morphine. If a doctor means to prescribe an initial dose of 10mg of morphine to a recovering surgical patient, and that patient receives 10mgs of hydromorphone instead, it is virtually guaranteed the patient will overdose on the drug. This overdose can lead to permanent brain damage, to respiratory depression or to death.
Guidelines for Prescribing Prescription Opioids Like Dilaudid
The state of Ohio does recognize the opioid crisis has escalated over recent years. Starting August 31, 2017 the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy set new limits on prescribing opioids for acute pain. These guidelines are effective throughout Ohio for prescribers to make sure their patients are safe. The new limit rules cover the following:
- Adults can’t be prescribed more than 7 days of taking prescription opioids.
- Minors are only allowed to have a 5-day prescription of opioids.
- Prescriptions can only be extended if there is a specific reasoning from the health care provider, which is included in the patient’s record.
- A prescription for acute pain cannot exceed 30 MED per day.
- These guidelines don’t apply to prescription opioids used for cancer, hospice, etc.
- These rules are intended for “the first opioid analgesic prescription for the treatment of an episode of acute pain.”
In addition to these guidelines, the Ohio Administrative Code sets forth an additional laundry list of rules doctors must follow when prescribing narcotic medication.
If a medical professional violates these guidelines, then they are being negligent and committing a prescription error.
Compensation for a Wrongful Death Prescription Drug Case
Mishkind Kulwicki Law Co., L.P.A. represents families who have tragically lost a loved one to a prescription dilaudid overdose as a result of physician negligence. One of the most important reasons to hire a dilaudid overdose lawyer in Cleveland, OH is because they can help you recover compensation for the loss of your loved one, in the form of monetary damages. These include:
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Funeral expenses
- Wrongful death damages
It’s hard to know if a dilaudid prescription was an acceptable treatment and care plan for a patient, or if it was a form of medical malpractice. If you have questions concerning the overdose or death of a loved one who was taking prescription opioids like dilaudid, do not hesitate to contact Mishkind Kulwicki Law Co., L.P.A. Once we know the details of what happened, we may have a better idea if negligence occurred. We understand the tragic reality of the prescription opioid crisis that Ohio is experiencing. You shouldn’t have to go through this confusing time alone.