Where is the line between easing patients' pain and overprescribing? This is a judgment call that medical and dental professionals have had to address on their own, and compassionate prescribers often face professional sanctions when a patient misuses medication.
A case out of Kentucky reinforces the reality that prescribers receive little assistance in determining an appropriate amount of medication for clients. Yet, when a patient overdoses or misuses prescribed medication in some way, professional licensing boards punish prescribers as if they crossed a clear, defined prescribing line—in reality, no such line exists.
Kentucky Dentist Loses License After Patient Overdoses on Pain Medication
The story of a Northern Kentucky dentist illustrates how medical professionals face immense professional risk in a field that requires regular medication prescriptions, including powerful pain medications.
Dr. Jay Sadrinia prescribed oxycodone to a patient following a dental procedure. The patient overdosed and died after ingesting morphine Dr. Sadrinia had also prescribed, leading to an investigation of Sadrinia's broader prescribing practices.
The Dentist Now Faces Permanent Revocation of His License (and Criminal Penalties)
Dr. Sadrinia has been convicted of criminal charges of unlawful distribution of controlled substances resulting in death, and he will almost certainly lose his license to practice dentistry.
Without making moral judgments or assessing the specifics of the medications Sadrinia prescribed, we can recognize that this story highlights a broader problem in the medical community. Doctors have the leeway to prescribe patients medications as they see fit but do not receive much (if any) leniency when patients misuse medication.
While we are not excusing any malpractice Dr. Sardinia may have committed, there is a fundamental lack of protection for doctors who prescribe medications with good intentions. These doctors become the target of vitriol and severe punishment when tragic, sometimes unforeseeable outcomes occur.
Doctors and Dentists Lose Licenses When Medication Errors Occur
When it comes to prescribing certain medications, particularly powerful pain relievers, hindsight is 20/20. Critics are quick to crucify prescribers when something goes wrong but often have little knowledge of why the doctor prescribed the medications they did.
Unfortunately, professional licensing boards sometimes bow to public outrage when someone suffers complications or dies because of medication errors. Even if the individual who suffers complications disregards the prescriber's orders, a professional licensing board may:
- Immediately suspend their license to practice
- Enact a long-term license suspension
- Place the medical professional on probation
- Revoke the professional's license, either leaving room for reinstatement in the future or imposing a permanent revocation
These life-changing consequences forever harm professionals' reputations, place them under financial stress, and can lead to life-threatening mental health problems. We seek to help professionals avoid such dire consequences.
The Lento Law Firm Helps Professionals Accused of Prescription Errors
A substantial period of time in which pain medications went largely unregulated has cast a cloud over medical professionals. Yet, stronger regulations are in place, and most prescribers want to help their patients.
If you face potential license sanctions for a medication-related adverse event or other circumstances that have brought scrutiny upon you, the Lento Law Firm can help. We will work tirelessly to defend your license and preserve your reputation.