An Illinois internet prescription malpractice case that I tried last year now has resulted in the indictment of the very doctors sued. The doctors were charged in the civil suit with: (1) prescribing Xanax and Ultram to a patient they had never seen or examined; (2) prescribing excessive dosages and; (3) practicing medicine in the state of Illinois without a license.
As reported in last months’ post on internet prescription malpractice, the plaintiff, a 30 year old husband and father ordered Xanax and Ultram over the internet. The plaintiff had previously successfully completed a drug rehabilitation program through Hazelton, and had been clean and sober for a long time. However, looking at his e-mails one day in May 2004 he succumbed and ordered the anti-anxiety drug Xanax and the pain killer Ultram via an internet questionnaire. As he testified before a jury in U.S. District Court in Chicago, he took these drugs partially for back pain and partially for recreation.
After consuming these drugs the next thing he recalls is waking up in a hospital in suburban Chicago three weeks later. The drugs repressed his breathing causing a hypoxic event that landed him in a coma. Neither Dr. Klinman. a Pennsylvania internist, whose name was on the bottle of Xanax nor Dr. Ahlawat, a New Jersey internist, whose name was on the bottle of Ultram, had ever seen plaintiff or spoken with him. All the information they had was contained on the online questionnaire that he filled out.