Sunday, April 27, 2008

Hospitals deny transplants to medical marijuana patients

Pressured by insurance companies and what's almost a vigilante attitude against marijuana, hospitals have begun denying organ transplants to patients who legally use the herb as medicine.

The excuse? Hospitals claim it's because medical marijuana is illegal - even though in many states it isn't. The hospitals are denying life-saving transplants to people who have been prescribed marijuana - in states where medical marijuana is legal, no less. Besides, how does legality affect the medical implications of a substance? Does an herb become more or less harmful if it becomes legal?

Another pretext for the hospitals' idiocy is that - although marijuana has no effect on some transplanted organs such as a liver - using the herb allegedly indicates an "addictive personality." Um, no. The herb is legally prescribed for actual illnesses. It sounds more like hospitals are trying to punish patients for thoughts and attitudes - which is much of what the War on Drugs is all about.

The failed drug war is the new McCarthyism. It destroys careers and lives just over thoughts.

The insurance racket is deeply involved in this crusade, for the hospitals are actually buckling to insurer pressure. Some insurers have begun requiring drug tests before approving transplants. Obviously the drug test firms are in cahoots with the insurers.

Shouldn't a doctor be making this decision, and not an insurer?

At least 2 deaths have been caused by patients being denied organ transplants as part of this insurer-led anti-marijuana campaign.

There ought to be a law. Insurers and hospitals shouldn't be allowed to deny someone a life-saving transplant just because they used marijuana that was legally prescribed to them. I know the "no regulations" crowd is going to conjure every excuse in the book to cover for their god (the insurance industry) but is it really right to make life-or-death decisions based on the drug warriors' McCarthyist attitudes that make no sense?



  1. The "no regulations" crowd is on the same side as you in opposing the failed war on drugs.

    But you conveniently omit inconvenient facts from the story you are referencing here. This guy has history of drug abuse -- he admits he likely got hepatitis, the reason he needs a new liver, from sharing needles -- not just prescribed medical marijuana. If there were plenty of livers for those who need transplants, I'd agree that drug use shouldn't be factored into the equation. But, there aren't enough and so transplant teams have to make difficult decisions factoring in who is sickest and which cases are most likely to be successful transplants.

  2. The guy in the story does not have a history of drug abuse in his adult life. He is says the last time he abused drugs was as a teenager (a minor) which was 40 years ago.