In a sad example of government propaganda has twisted entire institutions in American society, doctors in hospitals across the country actually punish the most desperate of patients for turning to medical marijuana. Norman Smith, a 63-year old man who is suffering from an inoperable cancer, was removed from the transplant list for the liver that he needs to live simply for being a legal California medical marijuana patient and missing a drug test, reports the LA Times. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center made the decision in February and has demanded that Smith stop using medical marijuana for six months, submit to random drug tests and go to counseling if he wishes to get back on the list. Would anyone condone treating desperate patients with such cruelty is marijuana were not involved? Would hospitals condemn people to death for using Oxycontin or Lipitor or any other prescription pharmaceutical? Such behavior goes directly against the Hippocratic Oath and needs to be banned, at the very least in states that have legal medical cannabis programs.
Mr. Smith’s cancer is back now, and so are the painful and exhausting chemotherapy and radiation sessions, the symptoms of which marijuana is proven to treat but which he must not forsake for a chance to get a new liver. Smith has asked the hospital to re-instate him now. “If I don’t get a transplant, the candle’s lit and it’s a short fuse,” he says. Smith’s attorney, Joe Elfort, works with Americans for Safe Access and is considering a lawsuit against the hospital. Organ transplant experts quoted in the article illustrate exactly how terrible and deadly their ignorance is:
“As long as we have patients who die on the list waiting for organs … is it right to give [to] patients who have a history of drug use?” wonders Dr. Goran Klintmalm, as if a blanket term like “drug use” meant anything without context. “You can discuss until the cows come home if it is social marijuana or medical marijuana,” he adds. Are we to assume that social marijuana is somehow more damaging, or chemically different? Perhaps looking at the actual science of cannabis may be a better way to decide who lives and dies rather than going with the “just say no” school of thought. According to another expert, Dr. Jeffrey Crippin, the issue is that “If you are drunk or high or stoned, you are not going to take your medicine.” The stupidity (and redundancy) of that statement is only surpassed by astonishment at the complete ignorance that a doctor can have about medical issues. One would think that after the California Medical Association declared support for marijuana legalization, all doctors would take a second look and be better informed.
Cedars-SInai hospital claims that it is not making “a moral or ethical judgment about people who are smoking medical marijuana” and that the issue is about having “guidelines in order to give people the best chance at surviving a transplant.” But the truth is that punishing people for using medical marijuana is nothing BUT a moral judgement, as the science clearly supports concept of marijuana as highly effective medicine of the most benign kind. Only the incessant lies of the US government can back up such a position, which sadly many hospitals take. Hopefully Norman Smith, who is still trying to comply with the hospital’s demands, is able to get a liver and live on to fight this abhorrent practice in the courts.