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FamilyPhysician, MBA, MD
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 12816
Experience:  Legal-medicine issues, business law principles, lecturer in medical-legal issues
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Hi,Can my doctor refuse to treat me because he urine tested ...

Customer Question

Hi,Can my doctor refuse to treat me because he urine tested me and the test came back positive for marijuana.I was told the test was to check that I was taking my medications.I have been on pain meds for my back for about 4 years now.I recently moved to NC from SC and my doctor refered me to a pain management center in NC.On my second appointment they insisted I take a urine test to check if I was taking my meds.I did and it came back positive for marijuana.I have had 3 back surgeries a disc fusion all of this has been paid through my workmans comp settlement.I got a settlement for lifetime medical for my back.I do have legitimate back problems.My doctor in SC says he can''t treat me because of the marijuana and so far I can''t find any other doctors who will see me.What can I do?Thanks M
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Lawrence N. Rogak, Insurance Atty replied 9 years ago.

I thought I had heard everything, but this is a first. A doctor has the right to refuse to treat a patient, except in emergency situations, and except if his reasons constitute discrimination based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.

In this day and age, when so many people smoke marijuana, I'm surprised to hear that more than one doctor has refused to treat you. You don't say whether you do in fact smoke marijuana, and I'm not asking if you do, but if you don't, that is certainly something you would want to discuss with these doctors who are refusing to treat you.

Have any of these doctors given you any more details on they won't treat you?


Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to Lawrence N. Rogak, Insurance Atty's Post: Hi,Thanks for the quick response.Sorry about my delay.I have some more questions if you don't mind.Is it possible to find an attorney to advise me with this problem.I have proof the doctor lied to me about the test.I have a bill from the place that performed the test and it states that they were to test for my meds not for anything else.I also have the certified letter from my NC doctor stating that he could no longer treat me because my urine test came back postive for marijuana.What kind of attorney should I contact?Since there is supposed to be a doctor patient trust can I sue for breach of this trust?If people discover they cannot trust their doctor to keep any info they give them confidential then when the doctor asks if they are taking any other drugs(legal or illegal)then the patient is going to lie.This could lead to alot of dead patients when the doctor prescribes something that doesn't mix well with whatever drugs the patient may be taking.Granted it may not directly open him up to a lawsuit but it still doesn't look good when a doctor has alot of dead patients.Anyway if you could advise me on any further steps I could take in this situation I would be very grateful.I've already tried the emergency room and all they can do is detox me.Which they don't want to do since I have a medical reason for taking the meds.I'm caught in a revolving door and can't find anyone to help me.Also I'd like to inform other people about this so that they can avoid this happening to them.Thank you for listening and please try to think of something that might help.Also if you know of anyone on pain medication tell them to be wary if they do any substances that are not prescribed to them by their doctor(s).Thank you again.Mike
Expert:  FamilyPhysician replied 9 years ago.
As a physician, and one of the legal experts on JustAnswer, I have a few additional questions about the situation.

What pain medications was this doctor prescribing for you?

Had you told the doctor that you were using marijuana or other illegal drugs?
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Hi Oxycodone and duragesic pain patches.No I did not tell him about the marijuana.He did a urine test which he told me was be sure I was taking my pain meds and then tested me for marijuana with out telling me he was going to.On the bill I received from the testing facility the only test marked was for opiates.Thanks.Mike
Expert:  FamilyPhysician replied 9 years ago.
There are several issues which likely lead the doctor to discharge or "fire" you as a patient.

First of all - by not telling the doctor of your use of marijuana, you placed the physician in a position of treating an individual who is hiding things. If you hid this vital piece of your medical history, the doctor can only assume that you would be willing to decieve him in other ways, possibly your use of other illegal drugs, or your use of narcotic pain medications from more than one source ("doctor shopping")

With the current legal climate surrounding the use of narcotic pain medications, doctors need to be very wary of prescribing these medications for fear of legal consequences if it turns out the the person taking them is involved in the illegal drug trade. In many cases, patients will get prescription drugs from a doctor, and sell them in exchange for other drugs.
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
First of all this is for the physician: I was not doctor shopping.I was referred to this doctor by my other doctor because I moved.Secondly if this is how a doctor treats a patient who has a legitimate back problem verified by 16 MRI's, 3 back surgeries, and court awarded life time medical treatment for my back then I think all patients should be very careful what they say to their doctors.I know I will be very reluctant to reveal anything information to any doctor I go to in the future and I'd advise everyone to do the same since there is no such thing as a doctor and patient relationship anymore.It seems to me that doctors are letting the DEA run their offices for them.I expressed my concern to my first pain management doctor many times about getting addicted to all the pain meds he was prescribing and he told me not to worry.When I asked what I'd do when I had to get off of them he said that would never happen.Well he lied.So I'm sorry to say but my faith and belief in doctors is zero.FYI this doctor was a highly regarded pain specialist in Charleston SC.To the lawyer:Back to my reason for contacting you.I want to know if you can advise me on the type of lawyer I can speak to about my situation.