This action concerns a young woman who at an early age became addicted to drugs. In 2005 when she was 18, she became a patient of the accused orthopedist and employee of orthopedic rehabilitation center for treatment of lower back pain and, a month later, for left ankle pain. From May 2005 through January 2007, the orthopedist prescribed large amounts of Vicodin and Methadone for the complainant woman’s pain. It is claimed that the multiple prescriptions by the orthopedist were improper, illegal and negligent and caused both physical and mental injury to the woman separate and apart from her earlier and continued addictions to illegal drugs such as heroin and cocaine and illegally obtained drugs such as Oxycodone.
Before, the Court is a motion for summary judgment by the accused parties. It is supported by an affirmation from a Board Certified Orthopedist. He first reviews the allegations made by the woman against the orthopedist. They include negligently and unjustifiably prescribing opiates to the woman and, by doing so, aiding her drug habit and causing her addiction to these opiates, improperly prescribing Methadone without a proper license, and failing to refer the woman to a pain management specialist.
A New York Criminal Lawyer said the Board Certified Orthopedist states, with a reasonable degree of medical certainty after reviewing all the relevant medical records and deposition transcripts, that the orthopedist committed no departure from good and accepted medical standards in his treatment of the woman, which was appropriate in every respect. He adds that as a licensed physician he was authorized to treat the woman and prescribe narcotic medications as he did without any negligence or medical malpractice.
But even more significantly for the purposes of the motion, the Board Certified Orthopedist also states that the woman’s addictions could not have been, and were not, precipitated, exacerbated or worsened by the prescriptions written by the orthopedist; in light of the woman’s prior drug use, anyone who attempts to parse out which drugs precipitated, exacerbated or worsened the woman’s addictions will be doing so without any basis in medicine and finally there is no basis in medicine or in fact to support the contention that the patient’s use of narcotics as prescribed by the orthopedist caused or contributed to her poly-substance addiction; and there is no evidence that the woman has suffered any permanent physical injuries as alleged in her Bill of Particulars.
The basis for the opinions, first as to the propriety of prescribing Vicodin and later Methadone, is the orthopedist’s medical chart. The orthopedist points out that on May 23, 2005, when the woman was 18, she went to him for management of low back pain which had began after she had fallen off a stage while at work. Upon examination, the orthopedist found tenderness in her back and buttock, flexion to 60 degrees with discomfort, a slight antalgic gait; and difficulty getting on and off of the examination table. The doctor prescribed Vicodin for severe breakthrough pain, along with heat and physical therapy.
A New York City Criminal Lawyer said several weeks later, on June 12, the woman went to see the orthopedist with complaints of left ankle pain. According to the orthopedist, an X-ray that he reviewed revealed a chip fracture of the lateral malleolus left ankle with soft tissue swelling. He gave the woman crutches, a Cam Walker boot, and a prescription for Vicodin. For the ensuing four months, the accused continued to prescribe Vicodin for the woman who continued to complain of pain in her ankles.
On October 17, 2005, her prescription was switched to Methadone. The accused then saw her twice a month and each time gave her a prescription for Methadone. On February 23, 2006, and again on January 24, 2007, in response to complaints of low back pain, the orthopedist prescribed Methadone.
Without going into any detail or explanation, the doctor then concludes that the narcotics prescribed by his orthopedist were appropriate in amount, frequency and type. Vicodin was properly and appropriately prescribed at the outset of treatment, and five months later, the orthopedist properly switched the patient to Methadone, an appropriate and well-accepted analgesic prescribed for pain relief in patients with heroin and/or cocaine addiction. In addition, the orthopedist recommended that the woman see a pain management specialist on numerous occasions.
As to causation, the Board Certified Orthopedist referred to treatment records from a drug rehabilitation facility in California. The woman was a patient in November 2006 and again in September 2007. The Board Certified Orthopedist refers to the history of drug abuse which the woman gave at the first admission wherein she stated that her use of illegal drugs dated from 2003. She also reported abusing Vicodin and Oxycontin on a daily basis, on and off for two to three years and having used cocaine since 2003.
In light of the woman’s prior drug use, anyone who attempts to parse out which drugs precipitated; exacerbated or worsened the woman’s addictions will be doing so without any basis in medicine.
Therefore, according to the Board Certified Orthopedist there was nothing to connect any of the orthopedist’s acts or omissions with any alleged injuries suffered by the woman
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