Monday, May 19, 2008

Another WTF moment

Hat tip to Betmo for this lovely bit of insanity. Turns out, if you need an organ transplant, don't fess up to your use of Medical Marijuana. It is considered to be substance abuse. Really.
At the University of Washington, the transplant committee said it reviewed "behavioral concerns such as a history of substance abuse or dependency. If such a history exists, then the committee looks at the period of abstinence the candidate has demonstrated to date," as well as the patient's efforts to maintain abstinence and potential to abuse again.
And here is where I say WTF? Medical marijuana is used to treat glaucoma - relieves the pressure in the eye. It is used in diabetes, AIDS, high blood pressure, and to relieve the nausea associated with chemotherapy.

Nevertheless, two recent organ transplant cases were taken off the list because they said they'd used medical marijuana UNDER A DOCTOR'S SUPERVISION, BY PRESCRIPTION. Timothy Garon died earlier this month after being turned down for a liver transplant. He admitted using Medical Marijuana, and this in part made him ineligiable. Jonathon Simchen is a diabetic, and he's also been turned down. His kidneys and pancreas have failed.

There are any number of factors that determine a person's eligiablity for a transplant. Among those are smoking anything, let alone Medical Marijuana. But to consider this substance abuse is a form of insanity.

Yesterday, I received a text message telling me that a friend of mine in Chicago just got a kidney transplant. I know this gentleman through AA, we are both sober nearly 20 years. He is diabetic, and he's got a whole lot of other things wrong. He was a serious drunk back in the day. But he got his kidney and I'm thrilled for him. And then I read the article today and said a silent prayer. Thank the powers that be that he never told anyone on the transplant committee his drinking and drug use history.

And here's the deal. I'm clean and sober; yet if a doctor were to prescribe marijuana to treat an illness, I would take it and not consider it to be substance abuse. My goal is to live a healthy(ish) life, and a long one, despite certain chronic conditions that effect my day-to-day. But if I were in the above described situation, I would not admit to using medical marijuana. If I used it, and needed a transplant - no way would that go on my form.

Sometimes, ommission is the best policy.


Fran said...

There outta be a law against this practice.... besides if you are going for a transplant- all of your medical records from for regular Doc would be shared anyway--right?

I can see where a drug/alcohol abuser would not be on the top of a (hard to get) trapnsplant list-- but if it has been legally prescribed, then you are considered medically *compliant*... right?

You would be non-compliant if you refused.

By the way I HATE the term compliant, in the Doctor patient relationship. You are supposed to be a medical team- working together .
I'm just throwing back their own lingo at them.

DivaJood said...

There is a difference between medically prescribed Marijuana and drug addiction; and usually the drug abuser would not even get on the transplant list because of the likelihood of failure. But these cases are not drug addicts.