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.