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Drug diversion creates serious risks for patients

On Behalf of | Mar 10, 2022 | Medical Malpractice

When New York physicians or other medical professionals take and use prescription medications meant for patients, it may do more than result in that patient missing his or her medication. It may also raise health and safety risks for every patient that physicians treat.  This is concerning given the fact that drug diversion, or the practice of stealing drugs meant for patients, is becoming more common.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, addiction drives many instances of drug diversion. Today’s health care employers must help identify drug diversion, report incidents to the appropriate parties and make efforts to reduce it in their places of business. Otherwise, they face the threat of drug diversion impacting the following.

Infection risks

Many serious, widespread infections at American hospitals result from medical professionals tampering with injectable prescription medications. Hepatitis C is one such condition that may result when a medical professional tampers with needles or injectable drugs. Bacteremia is one of a number of others.

Quality of care

When physicians or nurses are under the influence, it may have a serious impact on the quality of care they provide. For example, substance abuse may make medical care providers less likely to make accurate diagnoses or conduct necessary screenings. It may, too, reduce how much time a care provider spends with each patient. It may also result in a doctor or nurse denying a patient pain medication, resulting in that patient experiencing considerable pain.

When health care employers identify drug diversion taking place in their establishments, they have an obligation to report it. In some cases, medical professionals found guilty of stealing prescription drugs may lose their professional licenses, among other consequences.

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