Seven Patients of West Palm Beach Doctor Charged With Illegally Prescribing Pain Medicine Reportedly Died of Drug Overdoses
According to investigators, seven patients treated by West Palm Beach Dr. Sergio Rodriguez died of drug overdoses—some while using medication that the pediatrician had prescribed to them. Rodriguez has been charged with prescribing prescriptions to patients even though he did not fully examine them, trafficking oxycodone, and delivering Xanax, methadone, and Soma. The Florida pediatrician is currently behind bars. His bail is set at $2.7 million. Patients whose deaths are under investigation include 25-year-old Tommy Nunn, whose autopsy showed that the same drugs Rodriguez prescribed him were in his system when he died, Robert Miller, and 27-year-old Port St. Lucie resident Robert Bowes Jr., who died from an overdose after he took Xanax, oxycodone, and methadone—all prescribed by Rodriguez. The probe into Rodriguez’s medical practice began earlier this year after other businesses in the area complained that adults that appeared to be strung-out were frequenting the pediatrician’s practice, located at a strip mall on Dixie Highway. An undercover officer that pretended to be a patient says that Rodriguez prescribed pain and anxiety medications to her on five different occasions without conducting a medical exam. Rodriguez has told investigators that he was likely an addict and that he lacked the proper training to prescribe painkillers or help patients manage their pain. He also admitted that he knew that all of his patients who needed medication to manage their pain abused the drugs and that he let his patients tell him what (and how much) medication he had prescribed to them in the past. Rodriguez also says he prescribed over 1,000 methadone and oxycodone tablets to his girlfriend for his own use. It is considered an act of medical malpractice for a doctor to incorrectly prescribe medication to a patient—whether too much or too little. Doctors are also supposed to conduct proper examinations of their patients before prescribing medication to them. When a doctor fails to exercise his or her duty of care and a patient dies as a result, family members may be able to file a Florida wrongful death lawsuit. Related Web Resources: Overdose deaths on the rise, CDC says, Los Angeles Times, January 26, 2008 Wrongful Death, Justia In cities throughout South Florida, contact the West Palm Beach personal injury law firm of The Law Office of John D. Ameen, P.A. today.