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Boston Medical Malpractice?: Former Needham Doctor and Nurse Practitioner Blamed for Six Drug Overdose Deaths

In federal court today, Dr. Joseph Zolot and nurse practitioner Lisa Pliner were indicted on charges they conspired to illegally distribute controlled substances to patients and that this resulted in six fatalities. Drugs that they allegedly distributed included oxycodone, methadone, and fentanyl.

According to the indictment, Zolot and Pliner knew that the patients had drug addictions yet they still prescribed the painkillers-even though they were medically unnecessary-in exchange for money or insurance payments. Their alleged medical negligence in prescribing these drugs led to certain patients suffering from health issues, addiction, and/or overdose deaths. Jeffrey Campbell, Dennis Dillon, Thomas Dunphy, Christopher Bartoloni, James Curley, and Scot Poulack died from drug overdoses. The victims’ families may decide they have grounds to sue for Boston medical malpractice and wrongful death.

Zolot’s criminal defense lawyer is disputing the criminal charges. He contends that his client acted in good faith as a doctor. Pliner, who continues to work as a registered nurse, also plans to combat the charges against her.

Boston Medication Malpractice
It is the responsibility of a doctor prescribing medication to make sure that a patient gets not just the correct medication, but also right dosage. A physician must also refrain from overprescription, which can-depending on the medication-lead to unhealthy dependency, addiction, serious side effects, drug overdose, and death. Medical professionals also are not allowed to give a patient drugs in exchange for sexual favors or money.

Prescribing the wrong medication or the incorrect dose of medication can be grounds for Boston medical malpractice if the patient suffers an adverse reaction, develops health complications, or dies. In Massachusetts, patients have three years from the cause of action to sue.

Former Needham doctor and nurse practitioner indicted in six overdose deaths, Boston.com, March 3, 2011
Former Needham Doctor, Nurse Indicted In 6 Deaths, CBS Boston, March 3, 2011

Related Web Resources:
Drug Overdose, WebMD
Medication Overdose, Wrong Diagnosis