Jury awards woman $1.9 million for overprescription of pain medication

April 13, 2012
By Brassel, Alexander & Rice, LLC on April 13, 2012 4:18 PM |

pill bottle.jpgA 9-member jury awarded a woman $1.9 million Thursday, after it found that a doctor overprescribed methadone for pain treatment, which caused the woman to stop breathing and suffer brain damage. Overprescription of medication can have devastating effects for patients, including those in Maryland.

Our Annapolis Maryland medical malpractice attorneys have years of experience representing Plaintiffs who have suffered injuries as result of the negligence of health care providers.

The woman, Charlene Whalen of Bangor, Maine, sued Dr. Steven Weisberger who treated her for chronic back pain. The Complaint alleged that the dosage of methadone Dr. Weisberger prescribed was too high, which caused brain damage from oxygen deprivation after she stopped breathing while sleeping.

The doctor was a practitioner of a therapy called Prolotherapy, which involves injections into the area around a patient's spine that intentionally causes inflammation designed to help promote healing. Dr. Weisberger prescribed methadone from the resulting pain.

About 48 hours after she was prescribed Methadone, Whalen's fiancé found her unresponsive in the middle of the night. She was eventually revived, but the resulting deprivation of oxygen resulted in brain damage that affected her ability to multitask and perform tasks that would allow her to work.

The Plaintiff's experts opined that the amount of methadone Plaintiff was prescribed was eight times the amount recommended by experts in the field. The Defense countered that the dosage was within an appropriate range.

The Defense contended that the Plaintiff never alerted the pharmacist who filled the methadone prescription that she had breathing problems and suffered sleep apnea. Additionally, the Defense argued that Plaintiff had no future lost income, since she never intended to return to work.

The jury deliberated for less than two hours.

If you, or a loved one, has been negatively impacted by overprescription of medicaton, contact the Brassel, Alexander & Rice for a free consultation.