Pain medicine experts are physicians who specialize in the practice of pain management. These professionals provide medical and interventional management of both acute and chronic pain. Treatment may involve opiates, non-opiate medications, or interventional procedures such steroid injections or implantable pain pumps. The abuse of opioids (also called opiates or narcotics) such as heroin, morphine, and prescription pain relievers has become a global problem. The American Society of Addiction Medicine tells us that “Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the US, with 52,404 lethal drug overdoses in 2015. Opioid addiction is driving this epidemic, with 20,101 overdose deaths related to prescription pain relievers, and 12,990 overdose deaths related to heroin in 2015.” The New York Times reports that overdoses are now the leading cause of death among Americans under fifty years of age.
In Oklahoma County District Court, osteopathic physician Regan Ganoung Nichols has been charged in the death of five patients. Nichols is alleged to have prescribed an inordinate amount of controlled substances to patients without a medical need. The Oklahoma Medical Examiner reported that three of the five victims were prescribed the deadly combination of an opioid pain reliever, an anti-anxiety drug and a muscle relaxant. The Oklahoma Attorney General as well as agents and attorneys from the Drug Enforcement Administration, Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Office and the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control Prescription Monitoring Program were involved in the investigation. They found that the five individuals who died were prescribed more than 1,800 opioid pills in the same month as their deaths. All of the prescriptions were signed by Nichols. In addition, data gathered by agents shows that from Jan. 1, 2010 to Oct. 7, 2014, Nichols prescribed over 3 million dosage units of dangerous controlled substances.
Opioids are used to control pain. However, when health care providers over prescribe opioids to their patients, malpractice charges may be brought against them. Pain medicine expert witnesses are medical doctors with an in-depth knowledge of the physiology of pain as well as specialized knowledge and skills to treat painful conditions. They are well informed on the standard of care in the long term use of opiates. Contact ELITE Medical Experts for start-to-finish litigation support with a pain medicine case.