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Prescription drug-related suicide not faulted on doctor

In 2010, a golfer on the Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour committed suicide. She was 25 years old. The story rocked the tour and it left many people wondering why the golfer did it. Part of the reason may have been the medications she was taking and the negligent care she received from a doctor. The woman's family filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor, who prescribed the woman numerous pills, including an anti-anxiety drug.

A coroner's report on the woman's suicide revealed that the presence of prescription drugs in the woman's system were a "significant factor" in her death. Compounding this unfortunate fact is the behavior of the doctor who prescribed the medications to the woman. He apparently found the 25-year-old in her home and ended up taking the prescription drugs away from the scene. For this, the doctor pleaded guilty to obstruction.

However, the wrongful death and medical malpractice lawsuit that the 25-year-old's family filed ended up going nowhere. The doctor has been cleared of wrongdoing.

Doctors who prescribe drugs to patients have a huge responsibility. Filling out that note may be second-nature to them now, but doctors have to take great care when they prescribe those drugs to a patient. Properly diagnosing the patient's medical issue is the first step and then identifying the right drug -- that doesn't clash with the patient's biology, other medical conditions or other prescriptions -- is more difficult than it may seem.

When a doctor fails to properly prescribe drugs to a patient, the patient can suffer immense harm. That's not right, and the patient should consider legal action if this happens.

Source: al.com, "Doctor cleared in wrongful death, medical malpractice lawsuit involving late LPGA player," Tommy Hicks, May 14, 2014

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