Monthly Archives: May 2015

Utah Methadone Attorney Discusses Overdose Deaths

Utah methadone attorney

Methadone works by occupying the same brain receptor sites affected by heroin and other opioids.  Because of this property, it can be used as a treatment for chronic pain as well as a therapy for opioid dependance.

Methadone Related Deaths

In the last 15 years, deaths related to methadone have skyrocketed in the U.S.  According to the US Centers for Disease Control, the number of drug-poisoning deaths involving methadone increased from 784 deaths in 1999 to 5,518 deaths in 2007; then it declined to 4,418 deaths in 2011.  While the trend is improving, the numbers of deaths attributed to methadone toxicity are staggering.  While most of these deaths are unlikely to be the result of medical malpractice, far too many of them are.

Methadone causes approximately 60-70 deaths per year in Utah.

Legal Considerations

Under Utah law, a physician or other health care provider is required to exercise the same degree of learning, care and skill possessed by others in good standing practicing in the same medical field. Failure to exercise this degree of care is considered a breach in the standard of care and, if it causes harm, allows a claim for medical malpractice.  See Farrow v. Health Servs. Corp. 604 P.2d 474 (Utah 1979).

These standards apply to doctors and other providers who prescribe or administer methadone to patients for pain management or as therapy for opioid dependance.  In Utah, there are a number of methadone clinics providing this treatment.

While methadone can be a life-saving medication for many people, it carries significant risks which doctors must weigh against any potential benefits.  Methadone is a risky medication because it remains active in the body for a long period of time.  It carries the risk of respiratory depression which can lead to death.  Methadone can also cause dangerous cardiac arrhythmias.  Initial dosing is extremely important and generally must be tailored to each individual patient.  In addition, various other medications interact with methadone and can increase its effect.  Patients must be carefully monitored on a regular basis, particularly when doses are increased or treatment is begun.  See Applying Legal Risk Management To the Clinical Use of Methadone, James O’Donnell, PharmD, M.S. and F. Randy Vogenberg, Rph, PhD.

My firm has successfully handled methadone overdose cases in Utah.  We work carefully with the surviving loved-ones, expert witnesses, and others to uncover the facts and pursue valid cases.  If you suspect your loved one died as a result of methadone toxicity which was inappropriately prescribed or monitored in Utah, please contact me, Utah attorney Jared Faerber at (801) 943-1005, for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Radiology Malpractice in Utah: Was Your Radiologist Negligent?

Studies such as x-rays, MRIs, and CT scans can provide vital information regarding a patient’s condition, but only if the correct study is performed and only if it is interpreted accurately.  Occasionally, a critical study will be misread by a radiologist.

Research suggests there are several common types of radiology malpractice committed in Utah and around the country. (See The Causes of Medical Malpractice Suits against Radiologists in the United States, Jeremy Whang, M.D., Radiology, February 2013)   These include:

  •  Errors in diagnoses.  For example, failing to identify and comment on abnormal growths, tumors or other problems in the breasts, lungs, or other organs.  Another example would be failure to correctly identify a bone fracture.
  • Errors of communication with other physicians.  Sometimes the radiologist may correctly interpret the study, but fail to pass his or her findings on the the proper ordering physician.
  • Failing to recommend additional imaging studies.  Often findings in one study suggest the need for additional studies.  Sometimes the quality of a study is too poor to provide useful information.  In these situations and others, a radiologist may need to recommend additional studies or tests.

As a Utah medical malpractice attorney handling cases against radiologists on behalf of injured patients, I have seen these types of errors in various cases.  Of course not every radiological mistake causes harm to a patient.  However, when cancer goes misdiagnosed, a brain bleed is missed, a fracture is missed, or some other critical finding leads to serious injury, the patient may have a valid lawsuit against the radiologist.

The only way to determine if a valid claim for radiology malpractice in Utah exists is to have it reviewed by a qualified Utah medical malpractice attorney.  In addition, a qualified medical expert radiologist would generally be required to win a case.

If you suspect you or a loved one are a victim of radiology medical malpractice in Utah, please feel free to contact me, attorney Jared Faerber at (801) 943-1005 for a free, no obligation consultation about your situation.