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Suing Doctors For Patient Addictions

Nevada Senator Tick Segerblom proposes bill that would allow patients addicted to prescription drugs to sue doctors for prescribing the addictive medications and manufacturers for creating the medications.

Patients can already sue doctors for prescribing medications if they can prove that writing the prescriptions violated the standard of care and that they have suffered damages as a result. But Tick wants to take the concept a step further. If the patient sues a doctor and wins, the patient should receive payment for rehabilitation, possible punitive damages, and attorney’s fees.

It doesn’t matter that “addiction” can be either physical or psychologic and that there is no reliable way to determine when addiction occurs. Tick’s bill doesn’t define addiction. It also doesn’t matter that people can get addicted to pretty much anything … alcohol, illegal drugs, porn, gambling, even collecting Cabbage Patch Kids. Tick’s bill only cares about those evil doctors. Beware internet service providers, you could be next on the list if your subscribers get addicted to the internet.

But Tick has good reasons for proposing his bill. Since people lived without drugs before, Pharmacologist Tick doesn’t believe that drugs are the only way to treat pain now. That’s true. Patients in cancer pain could always try incantations and faith healing instead of popping pills. Or patients in pain could bust out some whiskey and a bunch of bullets to bite on … after they take anger management classes so they can purchase the bullets. Oops. That’s Florida. Sorry. Wrong state. Double oops. Alcohol could be addictive. Bad example.
Besides, since children are allegedly taught from an early age to do whatever the doctor says, Neuropsychologist Tick says no one has the free choice whether or not to take addictive pain medicines.

It’s not so much that, at least according to his Twitter feed, Tick seems just all … well … tickled … about seeing his proposal published in newspapers. The scary thing is that people like Tick Segerblom are elected to public office and may be able to regulate our lives.

More comments at Overlawyered.com


  1. The losers in all of this would be people in real pain who can’t get pain relief because doctors want to protect themselves.

    But I wonder if this is actually gaining any currency or is this just some random state legislature who introduced something stupid. Because the blogosphere will overreact to pretty much everything.

    • You’re right that patients would be the real losers if such a law was passed.

      Personally, I think that Tick’s sentiments are part of a growing pattern – legislators think that every time something bad happens, there has to be a regulation to fix it. That mentality is killing this country.

      If the blogosphere didn’t call attention to such asinine proposals, then people would be a lot more comfortable making them. If I’m overreacting because I draw attention to things like this, so be it.

      Would you act differently if a legislator in your state passed a bill requiring all attorneys to post a $500,000 bond for every lawsuit they filed so that defendants would have compensation if the claims were later determined to be frivolous?

      • I certainly get your point. I just don’t like the idea that these people can gain attention just for making insane proposals.

      • While I certainly agree with WC as to this legislation, I think there’s a wee bit of hypocrisy here. Doctors are always quick to call for new legislation and regulation when they think it benefits THEM. And if someone did propose a $500K bond for attorneys he and his friends at Overlawyered would be celebrating it.

      • “Personally, I think that Tick’s sentiments are part of a growing pattern – legislators think that every time something bad happens, there has to be a regulation to fix it.”

        The way this goes is:

        (1) A Bad Thing happens
        (2) Outrage ensues
        (3) Cries of, “The Government Should DO SOMETHING!”
        (4) Politician: “Okay, HERE’s Something!”
        (5) “YAAAAAAAAY!”

        ::rinse & repeat::

  2. So…. Can doctors sue Tick for being a f@#kwit?

  3. These arrogant halfwits don’t understand the law of unintended consequences. I’m neither a doctor nor a weak thinker of a state senator, but I’m pretty sure the end result of this law would be a massive undertreatment of pain. Wouldn’t that, well, kinda hurt?

  4. If that law passed in my state, then that would prompt immediate cessation of all narcotic prescribing, all benzodiazepine (Valium, etc.) prescribing on my part. So all my chronic pain patients will go to the E.D seizing and the chronic insomniacs will lose their meds (they are benzo’s, folks!)
    That will mean every fracture, no matter how severe, all burns, will go untreated.
    I will hand out this legislator’s name for the patients to complain toward.

    • Hashmd, I disagree. You would let your patients suffer just to avoid the possibility of a very small malpractice case that would very likely never be brought and for which you have malpractice insurance?

      I don’t think you would. I think you would care more about the patient than your own interests. If I’m wrong, please don’t treat any patients in Maryland.

      More chilling then the possibility of this be true is how blaze you would be able this decision.

      In my mind, this comment is as insane as this legislation.

      • Ron,
        Have you ever been sued?
        Even the cases that you consider “very small” require hours of time and effort to get dismissed. Not to mention the extra stress that it brings to an already stressful profession.
        A physician would be insane to risk his hard earned career by continuing to prescribe controlled substances to all the pts who cross his threshold. Physicians already place their pts’ health above their self interests. What profession do you know of that you are regularly expected to miss holidays and special occasions? Work long shifts overnight? Law, business, engineering? I think it’s reasonable to say that a pts’ wellbeing should not supersede my ability to lead a somewhat normal life and provide for my family (who did not take the Hippocratic Oath).
        In addition, the purpose of malpractice insurance is not to pay off every very small case. What would happen to your car insurance premiums if you were involved in multiple “very small” car accidents?

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