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Lawsuit claims hospital failed in handling of patient's drug test

Most in Providence would assume that all lawsuits filed against hospitals involve negligent care that resulted in a patient’s injury. Yet one aspect of healthcare that’s often overlooked is patient rights. While doctors, nurses, and other medical staff are charged with treating their patients’ physical ailments, they are required at the same to respect patients’ rights to make all of the decisions involving their care. Providers open themselves up to accusations of medical negligence should this right not be recognized, even in cases where there is no physical harm to the patient.

A Pennsylvania woman recently filed a lawsuit against a local women’s hospital based upon this alleged negligence. Her lawsuit claims that shortly after having given birth to her baby, she was questioned by hospital staff about possible drug use. It was later learned that a drug test had revealed the presence of opiates in her system. While the likely cause of the positive test was from her having eaten poppy seed bread prior to delivering, the woman claims that she never gave consent for the drug screen nor did she knowingly provide a urine sample to test. Yet because of the positive test, the woman was reported to state agencies and was forced to undergo regular drug testing over the next three months.

While both the woman and her baby endured no physical harm at the hands of her providers, the lack of informed consent for the drug test as well as the hospital’s negligent handling of the affair caused them a good deal of emotional pain. The mishandling of patient information also constitutes poor care. Anyone wanting to hold a healthcare provider accountable for such negligence may wish to initiate similar legal action with the help of an attorney. 

Source: CBS Local “Woman Files Lawsuit Against Hospital After Accusation Of Opiate Use” Brenda Waters, Mar. 12, 2014

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