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Medicaid Doctor Ousted After Boy Died From Overmedication

Chris Russo Apr 21, 2010

A Miami, Florida psychiatrist was removed from a Medicaid program after a boy died from overmedication.  A 12 year old boy with autism was prescribeda cocktail of potent mental health drugs and later died from complications of overmedication.  The psychiatrist was removed from the Medicaid program by state health care regulators with the Florida Agency for Health care Administration.  The psychiatrist removed had treated mostly disabled or impoverished children.  The Medicaid contract between the State and medical providers is a "voluntary contract" with the State and is terminable at will by the State.  News reporters commented that administrators at three state agencies had expressed concerns about the psychiatrist's prescribing of psychiatric drugs to disabled children before and after the May 12, 2007 death of the 12 year old boy.  The boy weighed approximately 70 pounds and was on a total of three mental health drugs.  Two of the boy's medications were already at the maximum dose at the time of death.  In combination, it appears that all three of the drugs would have additive effects as central nervous depressants and may have been a contributing factor in death.  The Miami-Dade Medical Examiner's Office attributed the boy's death to serotonin syndrome, also known as serotonin toxicity, which can be a result of excess medications causing the body to produce too much serotonin, which helps the brain and nervous system function.  It was reported that the University of South Florida, acting on behalf of the state health care agency, had sent several letters to the psychiatrist suggesting that he reconsider his prescription practices.  Apparently, the psychiatrist responded that he had been practicing long enough to know how to treat his patients and was tired of being told what to do.

In order to bring a wrongful death claim as a result of alleged medical malpractice, the claimants only have two years from the date of death to file a lawsuit or the claims are otherwise barred forever.  Because this would be a wrongful death case, only the personal representative of the estate of the boy has the legal authority to bring a wrongful death lawsuit (and presuit notice requirements for medical malpractice claims).  If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or death as the result of medical malpractice in the greater Central Florida area, including Lakeland, Winter Haven, Bartow, Haines City, Davenport, or Polk County, Florida, please contact a personal injury lawyer with Moody Law to discuss your case.  Our personal injury lawyers also handle a number of cases on a statewide basis.  A consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers is free.

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