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A doctor’s empathy for patients could cost their medical license

by | Aug 13, 2021 | Criminal Defense

Most people go into medicine because they want to help others. They recognize that their compassion and intelligence make them uniquely capable of diagnosing and treating the maladies that impact the human experience.

In order to secure a medical license, physicians first have to attend years of school. They also have to pass a grueling test, complete an internship and successfully apply for state licensing. Only then can they begin to practice medicine, always with the risk of losing their license if they make a major mistake or engage in some kind of misconduct.

New York has rules regarding the behavior of medical professionals in many scenarios. Doctors dealing with patients who claim acute pain are potentially in a position to face criminal prosecution or the loss of their license because of their compassion and empathetic nature. 

New York has strict rules about the distribution of narcotic pain relief

Over-prescribing opioid painkillers have become a major contributing factor to the modern painkiller addiction crisis. Thousands of Americans struggle with addiction to narcotics opioid pain relievers, and some of them will overdose or suffer adverse medical reactions to the medicine they take to manage their pain or stave off withdrawal after the underlying medical condition heals.

Many people with such addictions and even those addicted to heroin initially started with a legitimate prescription due to acute pain. New York has implemented rules that limit the prescribing practices of doctors helping those with acute pain to help curb addiction.

Doctors can now no longer prescribe more than a seven-day amount of pain management drugs the first time they consult with a patient about their condition. The state will also monitor the number of pills prescribed and how many times a patient refills a prescription for narcotic painkillers. Physicians whose prescribing practices exceed state rules and those whose patients make complaints about them could face criminal charges and licensing issues.

What are the potential consequences of overprescribing?

If the state discovers that a physician has been irresponsible in their prescribing habits, that might trigger a disciplinary review with the medical licensing board. Physicians do have the right to defend themselves during such a hearing, but their profession is at risk.

As if the loss of a career that required years of investment wasn’t frightening enough, doctors could also find themselves facing controlled substances charges related to their prescription habits. Physicians facing drug charges or career consequences need to plan carefully if they want to avoid conviction or the loss of their license.