Aaron Carter’s Family Sues Doctors and Pharmacies for Wrongful Death

The singer Aaron Carter, the younger brother of Backstreet Boys star Nick Carter, was found dead in his home on November 5, 2022. The Los Angeles County Coroner’s office determined that the cause of death was accidental drowning after inhaling difluoroethane and alprazolam. The autopsy reports stated that Carter was incapacitated while in the bathtub as the drugs took effect, causing him to slip underwater and drown. The 34-year-old leaves behind his fiancée, Melanie Martin, and their 23-month-old son, Princeton Carter.  

Martin has filed a wrongful death suit on behalf of her son. The suit claims that doctors and the Walgreens pharmacy incorrectly supplied opioids to Carter knowing his psychiatric history. The suit claims that it was improper to proscribe such medications that affected his judgment and mental health, thereby contributing to his wrongful death. Martin herself is skeptic about Carter’s official cause of death. Carter allegedly had a T-shirt and necklace on while in the bathtub, which Martin claims he wouldn’t wear if he was in the tub.   

A Reasonable Physician  

To prevail on a medical malpractice suit, the patient or the patient’s estate must show that the doctor acted below the standard of care for a reasonable doctor. Martin and her son must prove that a reasonable doctor would not have prescribed Aaron Carter opioids knowing his psychiatric history. A physician is liable for medical malpractice if his decisions were such that no reasonable doctor would have made the same decision.  

However, there may be reasons a reasonable doctor would have believed it was safe for Carter to prescribe him opioids. Carter’s last psychiatric issues may have been years ago such that he had no issue with taking opioids. Or the medical issues that Carter was experiencing warranted diflorethane and alprazolam, even if there were known risks. Even if difluoroethane and alprazolam have potential risks or side effects, it could have still been reasonable for Carter to take them.  

Risk and Warnings  

Carter’s family must also show that the difluoroethane and alprazolam prescribed contributed to his death. Carter drowned in a bathtub – it doesn’t automatically mean that drugs were involved. Even assuming that Carter had taken difluoroethane and alprazolam right as he got into the tub, it doesn’t mean that the drugs caused him to drown. The suit implies that Carter’s death was somewhat intentional – that he took the drugs and then decided to end his life. However, Carter could have simply fallen asleep and gone under.  

Conversely, the physician and pharmacist could be non-liable if they had warned Carter of the risks of taking the medication. Most patients are warned not to drive or operate heavy machinery after taking a prescription drug. If Carter was warned not to go swimming or be near water, then the medical professionals would have sufficiently warned Carter about adverse side effects of the drugs provided.  

Do I Need the Help of a Personal Injury Attorney? 

If you have sustained a personal injury through the unlawful act of another, then you should contact a personal injury attorney. A skilled personal injury lawyer near you can review the facts of your case, go over your rights and options, and represent you at hearings and in court. 

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