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Pain doctor in New Mexico loses medical license

A medical error can include a mistake with drugs, such as prescribing the wrong drug, dose or timing. Doctor negligence can have serious consequences and may even be fatal, especially when it results in a drug overdose. The following case shows how dangerous pain medication can be in large doses.

The New Mexico Medical Board revoked the medical license of a Las Cruces neurologist in December after an investigation into the deaths of 21 of his patients. The neurologist had prescribed more than three million doses of pain medication in 2011 to just over 3,200 patients, making him the largest prescriber of pain medication in New Mexico for that year.

The investigation by the medical board compared the neurologist's travel patterns with the prescription monitoring program that tracks controlled substances prescribed by each physician. This comparison discovered hundreds of prescriptions written on dates when the neurologist was not in his office. Postdating prescriptions is illegal in New Mexico when the medication is a controlled substance.

The prosecutor for the New Mexico Medical Board argued that the 21 patient deaths were directly related to the neurologist's practice of overprescribing medication. The prosecutor also said the neurologist failed to monitor his patients' prescriptions.

People who plan to file a medical malpractice claim should be aware that malpractice differs from most types of personal injury in that it requires the plaintiff to clearly establish liability. Legal strategies in malpractice claims often involve evaluating the claim and establishing liability under the relevant statute of limitations. An experienced attorney can help walk you through the process.

Source: Albuquerque Journal, "State Medical Board Yanks Pain Doc's License," Leslie Linthicum, Jan. 3, 2013

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