The Law Offices of Brian E. Quinn

Pennsylvania woman's death prompted licensing board to act

There is one less practicing physician in Johnstown at this time. A Pennsylvania licensing board has suspended a doctor's license. The situation involves a woman who had been treated at the physician's office and later died. The case is still under investigation.

Doctors in this state and others often prescribe medication, including controlled substances, to treat patients who are suffering from severe pain. Some medications, such as hydrocodone acetaminophen, are listed as analgesic drugs that can be addictive. The labels on such prescriptions often include warnings to avoid alcohol while taking the medication and other caveats.

The doctor in question had prescribed hydrocodone acetaminophen to a particular patient. Once the prescription ran out, the woman obtained a suboxone film from the same medical office. Suboxone is often used to help people overcome dependence on opioid drugs.

The woman's niece claims she called the doctor's office at some point during the next two days to report that her aunt was sleeping a lot. She says she was told that her aunt should sleep off the effects of the suboxone film before taking another dose; however, the patient was later found dead. The licensing board suspended the doctor's attending physician's license after an autopsy report showed the patient had died of a suboxone overdose. In Pennsylvania and all other states, a doctor accused of providing substandard care is guaranteed an opportunity to defend his or her license, which is why most physicians seek guidance and support from medical licensing attorneys before attending their hearings.

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