Physicians have known for decades that persons with decreased renal (kidney) function or kidney failure have a reduced ability to process and metabolize certain drugs such as opiate pain medications. If due to decreased kidney function, the body is unable to metabolize and pass these drugs, the patient can overdose and die. These risks are increased in patients who, in addition to suffering from diminished kidney function, also suffer from liver dysfunction.
When a patient with decreased kidney function or kidney failure presents to a hospital in pain, that pain should be treated as conservatively as possible. Moreover, if the doctor decides that opiate pain medication is appropriate, that doctor must carefully monitor the patient for signs of drug toxicity, including confusion, disorientation, hallucinations and a deterioration of vital signs.
Our firm has evaluated and successfully pursued multiple medical malpractice cases involving the negligent administration of prescription pain medications to patients with decreased ability to metabolize them due to kidney dysfunction. Due to their complexity, it is important that such cases be evaluated by a skilled and qualified medical malpractice attorney.