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Medical negligence: Doctor faces manslaughter charges

Pennsylvania residents are no doubt aware of media reports concerning doctors facing criminal charges after negligently prescribing anti-anxiety drugs and painkillers. Law enforcement authorities in a northeastern state claim that one doctor ignored obvious warning signs in order to engage in medical negligence and fill his pockets with money. Authorities blamed the doctor of putting money before lives. The doctor, who maintained a weekend storefront consulting room, is currently facing manslaughter and reckless endangerment charges in criminal court.

One of the doctor's patients reportedly informed the doctor that he took the anti-anxiety medication and painkillers more frequently than prescribed. The doctor allegedly went ahead and prescribed large quantities of the medication again. The patient subsequently died from an overdose. Another patient reportedly collapsed and died over an empty pill container after receiving three large prescriptions from the doctor in a period of five weeks.

After overdosing and surviving five times, another patient supposedly continued to receive prescriptions from the New York City doctor. Moreover, prosecutors say that the doctor knowingly prescribed drugs to a man who was responsible for the death of four people when he robbed a pharmacy to obtain drugs. As a result of two deaths, the physician is now facing two manslaughter counts, along with reckless endangerment charges pertaining to two more deaths and others who survived after an overdose.

When Pennsylvania residents lose loved ones as the result of medical negligence by a physician, they retain the right to file a wrongful death claim in a civil court. If the doctor is found guilty of the criminal charges he is facing, proof of that may further support the wrongful death claim. If the civil claims are successfully presented and financial liability is established, the next of kin may be awarded monetary damages to cover medical and end-of-life expenses, along with any other related financial losses recognized by state law.

Source: abcnews.go.com, "NYC Doctor on Trial in Patients' Overdose Deaths", Jennifer Peltz, April 2, 2014

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