In January of 2006 my wife suffered a minor back injury that prompted her to seek some help from a local doctor. This doctor examined her, sent her to the hospital for CAT scans /MRI and *determined* she had nerve damage. He then set out on prescribing her up to 30 strong Percocets weekly. After a month of her visits it became apparent by the same faces seen weekly, the majority of his patients were on the same type of treatment. It was evident that this Dr. was basically a legal drug dealer. He ordered a random x-ray or had my wife wear a heart monitor home for 24 hours from time to time to cover his ass. I am not too sure how much recourse I could get going after this jerk. My main inclusion of this Dr. in this story is to set the background.
During the first 90 days of weekly visits with this Dr. my wife started to get addicted to this medicine. So much so that she would be out her of prescription days before her next weekly refill visit. By the end of March /start of April she was officially an opiate addict. In April of 2006 he then started her on Oxycontin. From April to June '06 she was on both the Oxycontin and Percocet. During this time her health was up and down and she was having irregular periods so she attributed this to the medicine. Well, in early June we found out she was around 3 months pregnant with a due date of mid /late December '06. We informed the Dr. and at the point he fired her as a patient! My wife flipped out on him and we both demanded he consulted with an OBGYN. He folded and prescribed her 20 codeine with Tylenol and told her to take a hike, in no certain terms.
Since my wife was left high and dry, we had no alternative but to seek rehabilitation for her. The thing is, when you are pregnant and are addicted to pain killers, you cannot quit "cold turkey" for risk of miscarriage. The only medically advised option, short of an abortion, is to get on Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT). We do not believe in abortion as we have 5 children we are raising already. We wanted another child.
We found a 7 day inpatient induction program that started my wife out on a moderate dosage of methadone that was tailored specifically for a pregnant patient. She completed the program and then the owness was on us to find a MMT clinic to handle the daily treatment.
We found a clinic that would take her. This clinic made her get a blood test and inducted her quickly. She was on maintenance of 60mgs per day the first initial week. During this time my wife was getting proper prenatal care and she was keeping up with her daily MMT visits.
Here is where it gets complicated. The general consensus with the Dr.’s at this clinic stated that a pregnant patient will probably be on a higher dosage as gestational issues will alter the effective dosage for the patient. They claimed that MMT is safe for a baby. This clinic’s dosage policy at the time was that if any patient wanted an increase all they had to do was ask the lady at the counter handing out the daily dose for an increase. This is not standard policy. Most, if not all, clinics within this region required dosage increases to be authorized by a doctor. Well, since the doctors said MMT was safe for a baby, and my wife was feeling the need to increase her dose, she was on over 220mgs per day by the end of August ’06. This is when tragedy struck. She went into pre-term labor and was rushed to the critical care unit of one of the best hospitals in the country. After a 3 day struggle, she lost the baby. There was no ruling as to the final determination, but a couple nurses mentioned that they could not believe she was on such a high dosage of Methadone. I believe my wife’s OBGYN also told her that was the reason why she lost the baby.
After this trauma, my wife went back to the clinic and was dropped back down to 100mgs per day. Over the course of the next 30 days she asked for dosage increases, un be known too me, and by the end of October she was back up to 220mgs a day. All the while she was asking for increases she never had to confer with a Dr.. Here is where tragedy struck again. One morning after her dosage we came home and she fainted and she was sweating profusely. I rushed her to the hospital and they placed her in the cardiac care unit. If I waited much longer she would have been dead. What if I wasn’t home that day? She developed a near fatal heart arrhythmia that required an invasive pace maker to be installed in her heart. Once again, she was on a high dosage of Methadone. The doctors tapered her down 120mgs over 4 days and she was fine and they sent her home.
Immediately upon return to the MMT clinic they enacted a new rule where ANY dosage changes, whether up or down, required a visit with the resident doctor. I was up in arms. I researched the SAMSHA guidelines in regards to dosage protocol and it clearly states that a doctor needs to be in constant monitoring of the administration of medicine as well as the general well being of the patient. This was not performed at this clinic until after my wife almost died. I lost a son in the process as well. I am angry and I want to make them pay, financially. Needless to say I have not had a good year.
Please let me know where I stand here. I would like to go after both the Dr. who started this whole mess as well as the MMT Clinic. Could I get the original Dr. for misdiagnosing my wife with nerve damage which ultimately got her hooked to opiates? She clearly does not have nerve damage. As for the clinic, I think they were negligent in my wife’s treatment by not having a doctor supervise the dosage administration. This negligence resulted in the death of my unborn child and a near life trauma with my wife’s near fatal cardiac arrhythmia.
I do not know if this matters at all but my wife and I are in our early 30’s. We have (5) children ranging in ages 1 – 8. We do not have criminal records and no history of drug abuse. We are not poor and we live in a single family house. I am an engineer. The reason I mention this is that I know when it comes to going after these people (from what I read) background of the suing party plays a heavy role.
I appreciate any information and /or advice anyone can provide. It has been (7) months since the loss of my unborn child and 6 months since I almost lost my wife. I was trying to get on with my life the past (7) months and I am now coming to terms with the grief. I want to sue these bastards for all they got. No one informed me what was going on with her treatment and my wife was going under their recommendations. They screwed with my life badly. I am ready to fight.