Pubdate: Sun, 31 Jul 2011
Source: Record, The (Stockton, CA)
Copyright: 2011 The Record
Author: Dana M. Nichols
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


More patients claim hospital in Lode pressured them to sign form

SAN ANDREAS - Additional medical-marijuana patients have come forward 
to say they were told they were unwelcome at clinics operated by Mark 
Twain St. Joseph's Hospital.

New allegations surfaced after hospital officials in early July said 
they have no policy barring medical-marijuana patients from receiving 
care and that, in fact, some Mark Twain physicians have even written 
recommendations for patients to use medical marijuana.

Sam Slayter, a disabled veteran living near Valley Springs, was the 
first to go public with his account. Slayter said he had been told by 
Dr. Rafael Rosado that he couldn't receive care at a Mark Twain 
clinic in Valley Springs unless he promised to discontinue his use of 
medical marijuana.

At the time, hospital President Feliciano Jiron and Dr. Sean 
Anderson, the hospital's vice president of medical affairs, suggested 
that Slayter may have misunderstood Rosado.

Since then, other patients have reported similar experiences, saying 
they were asked to sign forms promising not to use medical marijuana 
and were told not just by Rosado but also by front-office staff that 
Mark Twain doctors were no longer allowed to write medical-marijuana 

"When I called in, I was in pain. I told them I was in pain. I was 
trying to get a hold of my own doctor," said David Jack, 68, who 
suffers from a congenital brain tumor.

Rather than scheduling him an appointment with his long-time 
physician, Dr. Paul Jacobson, Jack said the clinic receptionist told 
him he would not be allowed to see a doctor unless he signed a form 
promising not to use medical marijuana.

Jack said he then called a higher-ranking administrator, and she said 
the same thing.

"She went into an absolute rant about how Dr. Jacobson should not 
have ever given me a recommendation for cannabis," Jack said.

Neither Rosado nor hospital administrators nor Jacobson responded to 
requests for comment. In an earlier email, Rosado said the form is 
something recommended by the American Academy of Pain Medicine in 
cases where patients require potentially addictive narcotics.

"The true issue here is that we have a huge problem with patients who 
take prescribed pain medicines while also abusing illegal 
substances," Rosado wrote. "We would never turn anyone away for 
choosing to use marijuana as long as they are not being treated with 
a prescribed controlled substance or the use of the marijuana affects 
the care they receive at the clinic."

The form also states that the patients agree to random drug testing 
and understand they can be discharged from care if they test positive.

Rosado oversees care for all of Mark Twain's family medical clinics. 
Accounts by patients suggest that he and physicians in the clinics 
are in conflict over medical marijuana.

Both Jack and Paula Stevens, 45, who suffers back pain due to 
scoliosis and degenerative disc disease, said that other doctors 
apologized to them later after each initially had a run-in with 
Rosado over medical marijuana.

Stevens said that upon learning that Rosado had pressured her into 
signing the form and had withdrawn her pain medication, Dr. Rodger 
Orman told her "that's completely wrong. I don't want you to go back 
there. And I want you to complain to the board. That is not right."

Thomas Liberty is an activist with Collective Patient Resources, an 
organization that advocates for medical-marijuana patients in Calaveras County.

He said he's been contacted this month by seven medical-marijuana 
patients who said they've been pressured by staff at Mark Twain St. 
Joseph's clinics to sign a form promising not to use medical 
marijuana. Liberty said 17 people showed up at a meeting he organized 
to discuss how to respond to the hospital's policy.

"Nobody can understand why a hospital would treat people like this," 
Liberty said.
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