Pioneer of the Opioid Crisis Hit with $2.274 Million Verdict

A Philadelphia jury returned a $2.274 million verdict in a civil medical malpractice case in favor of a former patient against a now-convicted physician. In Rivera v. Bado, July Term, 2014, No. 01548, the Plaintiff alleged that the Defendant recklessly over-prescribed opioids in 2011 and 2012 when the Defendant operated a “pain management” practice.

The Plaintiff had been referred to the Defendant in March 2010 for chronic pain arising from a Morton’s Neuroma on her foot. Treatment was suspended for most of 2010 while the Plaintiff underwent treatment for an unrelated medical condition. When she returned to the Defendant’s care that December, he instituted a course of treatment that included both direct intravenous infusion of liquid opioids as well as opioid pills. Jeffrey Bado’s treatment of the Plaintiff’s chronic pain featured intravenous infusion of hydromorphone (dilaudid), Nalbuphine, and other potent opioids, on an outpatient basis. The Plaintiff experienced severe complications and side effects from the opioid therapy. The severe complications included multiple hospitalizations for infections, including a life-threatening septicemia that landed her in the intensive care unit for several days in the middle of 2012. She was chronically ill from the excessive use of opioids, including persistent vomiting and weight loss.

The Defendant was board-certified in internal medicine, but not in pain management medicine. He transformed his family medicine practice into a pain management practice for “business model” reasons but never pursued a board certification in the specialty. Plaintiff was represented by Eric G. Zajac and Evan M. Padilla of Zajac & Padilla, LLC.