The drug industry in the U.S. is a multi-billion dollar business. Many blame the rising cost of health insurance in part, on the over prescription and over use of medications. Unfortunately, the ramifications of our use or overuse of prescription medications is far reaching and goes beyond an increase in the cost of health insurance. This was perhaps never more clear, than it was in the case of Joseph Mazella.
A NY jury highlighted the dangers associated with anti-depressant drugs, by awarding 1.5 million to the family of Joseph Mazella who committed suicide. Mazella was a 51 year old father, teacher and coach, who had been taking Paxil (20mg) for over 10 years as presribed by Dr. William Beals. Upon feeling anxious and depressed, Mazella telephoned Dr. Beals for help. Instead of having Mazella come into the office for an evaluation, Dr. Beals elected over the phone to increase Mazella's Paxil dosage to 40 mg and added the antipsychotic drug Zyprexa. In one month's time Mazella was found at home by his wife, dead from an apparent suicide.
The jury found Dr. Beals negligent in reportedly prescribing Paxil over the phone to Mazella for 10 years without in office evaluations, in failing to properly warn of the serious risks associated with Paxil, in doubling the paxil dose and adding a second drug over the phone so as not to interrupt his vacation and abandoning Mazella during his decline. The NYS department of health has charged Dr. Beals with alleged negligence in prescribing psychiatric drugs to many of his other patients, he has reportedly been disciplined for personal alcohol and drug abuse and is now serving a 5 year probation from the practice of medicine.
Long Island Lawyer
Paul A. Lauto, Esq.