While speculation continues to swirl with regard to what caused Whitney Houston’s recent death, with little accurate information being disclosed by the authorities and official statements warning that it will take weeks before the official cause of death is known (after toxicology results are made available and reported), there has been recent speculation that Whitney Houston had consumed the prescription medication Xanax along with alcohol that may have led to her death by slowing her heart rate and/or causing her to have a heart attack.
What Is Xanax?
Xanax is the brand-name of a prescription medication containing alprazolam and is typically used to treat panic disorder. Alprazolam is in a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines, which are central nervous system depressants used to produce sedation, to induce sleep, to relieve anxiety and muscle spasms, and to prevent seizures.
What Are Benzodiazepines?
Benzodiazepines, including Xanax, are subject to abuse because of the “high” and the loss of inhibition that they can provide. As the U. S. Drug Enforcement Agency has noted, abusers of Xanax and similar drugs often obtain them by getting prescriptions from several doctors, by forging prescriptions, or by buying diverted drugs “on the street.” Adolescents and young adults are among the most frequent abusers of benzodiazepines. Source
What Warnings Are Associated With Xanax?
The official warnings for Xanax include the following: Because of its CNS [central nervous system] depressant effects, patients receiving Xanax should be cautioned against engaging in hazardous occupations or activities requiring complete mental alertness such as operating machinery or driving a motor vehicle. For the same reason, patients should be cautioned about simultaneous ingestion of alcohol [a central nervous system depressant] and other CNS depressant drugs during treatment with Xanax. Source (page 7).
Did Medical Malpractice Kill Whitney Houston?
Two matters that have not been publicly resolved at the present time are how and where did Whitney Houston obtain Xanax? Other questions regarding Whitney Houston’s death include: was the Xanax she consumed (assuming that she did in fact consume Xanax shortly before her death) from a prescription that she had obtained and had filled at a pharmacy? How much Xanax was consumed by Whitney Houston and at what time in relation to her death? Did Whitney Houston also consume alcohol — if so, how much and when did she consume the alcohol in relation to taking Xanax and in relation to the time of her death?
The answers to these and other relevant questions surrounding Whitney Houston’s death may help determine if medical malpractice may have played a role in her death.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is generally defined as the failure of a medical provider to provide that level of care that a reasonably competent medical provider would have provided under the same or similar circumstances in the same or similar community.
One or more of Whitney Houston’s medical providers may have committed medical malpractice if they knew or should have known that she was not an appropriate candidate for being prescribed Xanax (for medical or other reasons known to them); that she had a history of abusing Xanax or similar drugs without addressing and monitoring Whitney Houston for present abuse of such drugs; that she had a history of taking Xanax with other depressants such as alcohol that she was continuing to take; and/or if they knew or should have known that Whitney Houston was obtaining Xanax from other sources at the same time that they were prescribing Xanax for her (assuming that Whitney Houston was obtaining Xanax from other sources, which is presently unknown to the public).
While all of this is speculation or conjecture at the present time because of the lack of reliable information in the public domain, we would not be surprised if news reports tying Whitney Houston’s death to medical malpractice increase in the near future as further information about the circumstances of her death become known (especially after the toxicology results are made public).
While we presently have no knowledge whether medical malpractice caused or contributed to Whitney Houston’s death, and we are saddened by her passing, her reported past history of substance abuse should serve as a warning to everyone about the dangers of such behavior that affect not only the substance abusers but their families, friends, and fans alike.
Our daily blog at MedicalMalpracticeLawyers.com provides useful and interesting information regarding a vast variety of medical malpractice issues and our website provides assistance in connecting with medical malpractice lawyers in your local area who may be able to investigate your possible medical malpractice claim and file a medical malpractice claim on your behalf, if appropriate. If you prefer, you may contact us at our toll free telephone number 800-295-3959.
Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.