Thursday, January 19, 2012

Medical cannabis patient denied transplant

Why is it that when an individual makes a simple mistake legally his/her entire world gets tipped upside down, but government and corporations can get away with gross criminal actions? One man gets busted for a marijuana roach, while a hospital can just decide to murder a man. Sixty-three year-old Norman Smith was diagnosed with inoperable liver cancer in 2009, with limited options Smith went to the highly acclaimed Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. This decision proved to be a great threat to his life.

Seeking treatment and options, Smith was facing the long road of grueling chemotherapy and prescription treatments. His oncologist (at Cedars-Sinai), Dr. Steven Miles, prescribed him medical marijuana to ease the effects of the chemotherapy and pain from an unrelated back injury. Then In 2010, Smith became eligible for a liver transplant restoring some hope to his fatal situation. But tragically Smith was removed from the transplant list after testing positive for marijuana, the very prescription that was given to him by one of the doctors at the same hospital.

This fatal discrimination against Smith isn't an isolated incident, Americans for Safe Access (ASA) reports that they have received numerous letters nationwide from medical marijuana approved states, from patients sharing their stories of transplant denials due to their medical marijuana use. After hearing about Smiths incident at Cedars-Sinai, the ASA issued the Cedars-Sinai Transplant Department a letter urging them to put Smith back on the transplant list and further changing their polices against medical approved marijuana patients. ASA Chief Counsel Joe Elford said, “Denying necessary transplants to medical marijuana patients is the worst kind of discrimination. Cedars-Sinai would not be breaking any laws, federal or otherwise, by granting Norman Smith a liver transplant, and it’s certainly the ethical thing to do.”

Smith continues to gain support and is backed by his oncologist and other medical staff at Cedars-Sinai. But his cancer is no longer in remission and he is scheduled for more radiation treatments due to the delay. Cedars-Sinai is demanding that Smith stop using the medical cannabis for six months and they're requiring him to participate in substance abuse counseling, this after delisting him from the transplant list only 2 mouths away from him receiving his new liver.

How is this aloud to go on? Hospitals are allowing American citizens to die over ridiculous politics, which is similar to tactics used under Nazi controlled Germany. Even if the marijuana was used illegally, what gives any hospital the right to decide who lives or dies? Even hardened criminals like murders, drug lords, child molesters and terrorists in prison get medical treatment and life saving surgery, but not Norman Smith. It should be pointed out that the University of Washington Medical Center neglected Timothy Garon to death denying him a transplant due to his medical marijuana use, this was out right murder. But still no charges, and they get to continue ending lives, in America.

Dave Walther