It’s against medical ethics and possibly even the law, but a hospital in Calaveras County, California is alleged to be preventing seriously ill patients from receiving needed medical attention based on the fact that they also use medical marijuana legally under Prop. 215.

The Stockton Record originally ran the story about a number of patients who were told they could not continue to see doctors at clinics run by Mark Twain St. Joseph’s Hospital unless they signed a form agreeing not to use medical marijuana. These patients – including a disabled veteran, a 68-year-old man with a brain tumor, and a 45-year-old woman with scoliosis and degenerative disc disease — were also told they would be drug tested at random to insure compliance with this policy.

At the center of the controversy is Dr. Rafael Rosado, the medical director for the hospital’s clinics, who was hired in June according to the Calaveras Enterprise newspaper. Dr. Rosado apparently believes that medical marijuana patients are just one step from being gutter junkies, as the Record quoted from an email he sent:

“The true issue here is that we have a huge problem with patients who take prescribed pain medicines while also abusing illegal substances.”

“Abusing illegal substances” seems to be Dr. Rosado’s way of referring to patients who legally use cannabis for their serious medical problems.

He also seems the type who would think that medical marijuana users
should be forced to seek treatment at substance abuse rehab
in California
or wherever they may be in the United States.

According to the Enterprise, Dr. Rosado also “had refused to help [a patient] find a primary care physician, and that Rosado told him the hospital would not provide primary care for any MMJ user.” Needless to say, medical marijuana in California (as well as every other state) can only be provided on the written recommendation of a doctor in the first place. So here is a licensed doctor apparently refusing care to an entire class of people based on his personal prejudices.

If these allegations are indeed true, the hospital administrators and directors responsible should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, and the Estate of Mark Twain should sue to remove this hospital’s use and sullying of his good name. From everything I’ve read by the late Mr. Clemens, he would have been one of the first to ride these folks out of town on a rail.

  • Ness

    This is absolutely scandalous!! You can guarantee that this same Doctor Rosado is quite willing to prescribe addictive opiate pain killers like morphine to patients! This guy should be struck off!

  • L. Everett

    Regading your article on Dr. Rosado and the Mark Twain Clinis, please note that physicians are uniquely divided regarding the use of medical cannabis. The quality of the cannabis is not monitored, inhalation of smoke precipitates COPD and smoking tobacco with cannabis enhances the development of lung cancer. Cannabis potentiates the dosage of opioid narcotics and would certainly be an “iffy” consideration in one of your cases who is on methadone (300% increase since 2008 of deaths), percocet and vicodin.
    Herbal cannabis varies greatly in quality. Medium doses help alleviate discomfort, high doses magnify it. There is a reported relation between psychosis and cannabis use, there are studies that demonstrate shrinking of certain parts of the brain.

    Involve pharmacists and distinct medical follow up and maybe more physician’s would be on board.

    Also, physicians are licensed by the DEA, a federal agency, to dispense medications…not the state of CA. The American Board of Addictive Medicine has requesed, this year, that cannabis not be dispensed freely and that the practice of medicinal cannabis be discontinued.

  • dayjober

    Kaiser mental health is doing the same thing. One psychiatrist refused to continue a bipolar patient’s depakote unless she stop using her medical marijuana, which he termed a “dangerous drug.” The issue has so far been dropped, at least temporarily, as the depakote was found to be destroying her platlets (the cell fragments found in blood that enable the blood to clot)and had to be discontinued.

  • DANIEL_7322

    The truth of he matter is that some patients have been refused organ transplants because they were useing medical cannabis and were left to die. No hype, and it has happened more than once. Here in lies one of the most dangerous side effects of cannabis prohibition although it only involves a very small percentage of patients. Still, I have been smoking cannabis for the past 44 years and can’t agree that it’s dangerous at all, yet if I were to need a liver transplant due to overuse of tylenol (it’s in so many different products that it has become a real danger) I would be refused and left to die. Obscene!!!!! BTW, according to Dr. Tashkin who was hired during the Nixon administration to study cannabis for ill effects and has been doing so for the past 30 years, a person who smokes a lot of pot like every day has a reduced risk of getting lung cancer. In other works, less risk than someone who doesn’t smoke anything. Of course, tobacco smoke increases a persons risk by 2000 percent. Simply watch “Medical Cannabis and it’s Impact on Human Health, a Cannabis Documentary” for the truth from the experts. You see, every time a study is done the results are always that it’s a very safe substance and should not be prohibited and then the studies are blatantly ignored. A few years pass and the nay-sayers say that more research is needed.

  • Lacy C.

    As a MMJ patient I have found the relief from pain, stress, anger, sever migrains, and insomnia all from this NATURAL prescription. It saddens me that we live in a state (of union) that allows an individual to take away rights from an entire group of people based upon his or her own preferences. Our country was founded by cannabis growers! Men who also believed that all americans should have the right to persue happiness. Let he without sin be first to cast a stone, how dare this man judge another, especially those seeking aid for serious health problems! How about instead of re-criminalizing a natural substance that has to be accompanied by tabacco to cause lung cancer, we work on criminalizing something that distroys peoples lives that dont even partake and kills millions: alcohol! I would be willing to bet that man goes home, drinks himself into a stupor then beats his wife, as is not in the temperment of MMJ patients.

  • Me

    Dr. Rosado was quite happy to renew my Vicodin prescription. As most know, that is an addictive narcotic with the potential to kill with a single misaken overdose. It makes his concerns about marijuana seem hypocritical, at best.

    I choose to use marijuana when I cannot get to sleep because of the pain of my condition. I have a legal, medical recommendation for it from a licensed California doctor and I thank God for it. I only take the Vicodin when the marijuana isn’t enough to kill the pain — and those times are rare. That’s good for me, as a patient. The less I use Vicodin, the better off I am.

    Dr. Rosado is violating his Hippocratic Oath when he refuses medical care because of a personal political agenda. It is twice as bad in Calaveras County because this is a rural area and alternative choices are a long distance away. This bad policy of Mark Twain Saint Hopkins has got to stop.

  • http://BeyondChronic.com Old Hippie

    I’m dedicating my next FDA Drug Profile to you! Nugs and hugs!