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Are Doctors Treating Addiction Patients Properly?

May 29th, 2018
By Zach Christiansen of The Bowling Christiansen Law Firm, A Professional Law Corporation posted in Medical Malpractice on Tuesday, May 29, 2018.

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana. When it comes to medical treatment in the United States, we have a serious double standard. Patients suffering from deadly diseases like cancer receive carefully orchestrated medical care, with doctors working in concert to coordinate treatments. However, when patients are suffering from addiction, many might never even get to see a doctor at all, much less receive evidence-based treatment. According to the New York Times, patients suffering from addiction may not always know whether their treatment is even covered by insurance, creating greater barriers to access.


Let’s face it. Addiction is deadly. It claims the lives of 64,000 Americans to overdose alone each year, and these numbers don’t even begin to account for the people who die due to complications like liver failure. John Oliver recently ran a piece on America’s rehab industry. While the industry makes $35 billion every year, rehab centers are not required to use evidence-based approaches when taking insurance money. John Oliver noted that while rehab centers self-report 80% success rates, the reality is that rehabilitation from drug addiction is an ongoing and life-long process. In fact, Oliver noted that some of these facilities use methods to treat addiction that are simply not based on scientific evidence that they offer healing. One of the methods noted was “equine therapy.”

To make matters more complicated, the rehabilitation industry is regulated by each state, which means that the care you might get in say, Florida, can be radically different than care you’d receive in New York or California.

Alarmingly, medical schools in the U.S. only spend 12 hours covering substance abuse with doctors. When doctors do try to treat patients suffering from addiction, they could face challenges getting reimbursed by insurance.

Addiction is a recognized illness by the surgeon general. Evidence-based treatment like methadone, group counseling, and coordinated care is needed for those suffering from the condition. To make matters worse, there is no recognized protocol for treating addiction. As more people continue to die from opioid overdoses, our medical system continues to struggle to keep up.

The reality is that money might ultimately solve the problem. Insurance companies are required to cover addiction treatment. Some companies are devising care models. And when medicine fails, the families of victims who suffer overdoses are fighting back, by suing doctors, emergency rooms, and rehabilitation facilities who failed to do their jobs.

If you or a loved one sought medical care for addiction and you believe that you didn’t receive the treatment you may deserve, you may have rights under the law. More families are suing medical facilities when opioid addiction isn’t diagnosed. Sometimes misdiagnosis can lead to later overdoses. If this describes your family’s situation, visit the The Bowling Christiansen Law Firm, medical malpractice lawyers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana today. When individuals visit the ER for opioid addiction and drug use, doctors should diagnose them. If they fail, reach out to the The Bowling Christiansen Law Firm today. Our hospital and emergency room negligence lawyers may be able to help you.

The Bowling Christiansen Law Firm, A Professional Law Corporation

1615 Poydras Street, Suite 1050

New Orleans, Louisiana, 70112

Phone: (504) 586-5200

Toll Free: (504) 586-5200

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