Two years ago at the age of 28, professional hockey player Derek Boogaard died of a pain medication overdose. Last week, the player’s family filed a lawsuit against the NHL in Chicago, alleging that the NHL is responsible for Boogaard’s wrongful death.
The family claims that the NHL is responsible for Boogaard’s death because the NHL allowed its doctors to prescribe the player with “excessive amounts” of painkillers during the player’s career. The family also blames the NHL for allowing doctors to prescribe these potent drugs even though the NHL should have known that Boogaard was vulnerable to becoming addicted to drugs due to brain damage he suffered during his professional hockey career.
The family’s lawsuit against the NHL underscores the important responsibility doctors in Illinois and throughout the U.S. have to make sure they are safely prescribing pain medications to patients. The lawsuit also underscores the importance of making sure doctors take necessary steps to avoid prescribing painkillers to patients who may suffer from prescription medication addictions.
According to the lawsuit, Boogaard was prescribed an excessive amount of painkillers during his NHL career. During the 2008-09 season, NHL doctors prescribed Boogaard more than 1,000 pain pills. The hockey player sustained numerous injuries on the ice, and painkillers helped him to cope with his physical pain. However, the player eventually became addicted to pain pills. At one point, the professional hockey player was taking 10 pain pills a day, the lawsuit claims.
The NHL was aware that Boogaard suffered from an addiction to pain meds, and the family claims that the NHL made a promise to get Boogaard the help he needed. However, Boogaard did not get the help he needed and he suffered a fatal overdose. Boogaard’s family now hopes to hold the NHL accountable for its medication errors and other mistakes that eventually led to the player’s tragic death.
Source: Chicago Tribune, “Lawsuit alleges hockey enforcer died after NHL doctors gave him painkillers,” May 14, 2013