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Question for those in the medical field

Old 03-21-2008, 07:49 AM
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Question Question for those in the medical field

Recently my daughter was in the CCU of a local hospital for complications of her untreated asthma (made worse I am sure because she smokes crack and snorts heroin). I did not know about this until after the fact as she refused to contact me because I would have told the doctors her secret. Anyway my question is if a 21 year old came to the hospital with very low blood gases caused from her airway constriction and needed to be in the CCU would the doctors be testing for drugs. She did say that they took blood everyday. I know that the boyfriend had to be sneaking drugs into the hospital for her because she would have gone into withdrawals and then it would have been obvious. I also think it is obvious that she is an addict but that may just be my thinking. Thanks, Marle
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Old 03-21-2008, 07:53 AM
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All I can say is May God Bless and Guide you
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Old 03-21-2008, 08:08 AM
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I am sure they knew they were treating an addict...
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Old 03-21-2008, 08:14 AM
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Its likely they did a urine toxicology screen on admission, or a repeat if they thought she was using in the hospital. Cocaine/crack use is linked to asthma exacerbations, although its not the easiest drug to test positive for, and it depends on how quick the docs were in ordering it and when she last used. However, the blood tests she had done daily were probably monitoring other things-- how well her organs were functioning, the balances of her electrolytes, blood gas levels, etc. Anyway, health care professionals don't play law enforcement, although in one state I worked in (MN), a trip to the ICU due to drug abuse earned you an all-expense paid trip to rehab, courtesy of the state.
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Old 03-21-2008, 08:17 AM
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((((Marle)))

Sometimes it's "routine", but often it isn't to check for drugs. If someone comes in and obviously looks like they are a drug abuser, the doctor will usually order a drug screen if it has some bearing on what they are treating. This sounds stupid, but say someone is using marijuana, but is there for a sprained ankle...the drug use doesn't have any bearing on how they treat the ankle.

In Megan's case, if she said she smoked cigarettes, they would probably accept that as a reason for her asthma attack and not test her. Even if they did do a drug screen and found crack/heroin, they would probably just lecture her. There wouldn't be any legal consequences because of doctor/patient confidentiality. Usually, the only time legal issues come in is when there's been an accident, and drugs may have been the cause.

They test for drugs in the urine, alcohol in the blood.

She is probably right, that they would not have allowed the ABF in, if they thought she was getting drugs.

The last hospital I was in, I used to work in the ER, and it is the "indigent care" hospital for Atlanta. I was very honest in saying that I was a recovering addict, and received excellent care...of course, I was clean at the time.

In her case, they probably didn't test her for drugs, because even if they suspected that she was abusing crack, it really wouldn't have changed how they treated her. I've taken care of hundreds of drug abusers who were in the hospital for infected IV sites, lung problems from smoking crack, etc. The only thing we could do, was treat the medical issue and recommend they go into treatment, even set them up with an appointment. As is always the case, it was up to the addict to do something about their addiction.

Hugs and prayers!

Amy
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Old 03-21-2008, 08:23 AM
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Wow, KatyK, I guess GA is behind in the times! The only time we ever put anyone in rehab is when they OD'd, and were involuntarily committed!

I think a lot has to do with the facilities, too. A smaller hospital, who is not overwhelmed with addicts would probably do more than the one I was at, simply because of the time factor. With hundreds of people waiting to get in the door, unfortunately, we were taught to "treat 'em and street 'em".
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Old 03-21-2008, 08:30 AM
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((((((((Marle)))))))))

Thinking of you and praying for you both.

Love,
Linda
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Old 03-21-2008, 08:58 AM
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The reason I am asking is because she told me the reason she and her abf did not call me and let me know was because I would tell the doctors and then they would treat her badly, but if the doctors already knew then that is just an excuse. I figured that she is using the "big, bad mother excuse". She always does when her own guilt and shame make it impossible to see me. We went from making baby steps toward some kind of a relationship in the fall to back to nothing. She wants me to think it is my fault, but I know that I am powerless in this. I guess that this is one more thing I have to let go. I can be kind and compassionate or mean and bitchy and it won't change how much I do or don't see her. I guess that I am reaching a new level of acceptance but with each new development in her addiction, I must go through the pain to get there. Hugs, Marle
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Old 03-21-2008, 09:08 AM
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(((Marle)))

You are such an awesome lady!! I agree...she is putting blame on you, because it's easier than to deal with the shame and guilt. I hate it for you, but I admire how you keep learning and taking care of you!

Sending you huge hugs and prayers!

Amy
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Old 03-21-2008, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Impurrfect View Post
Wow, KatyK, I guess GA is behind in the times!
MN, home of Hazelden, is ahead of the times! Well, I'm in AZ now and its a different ball game here. Its much more the attitude of "they choose to drink/use drugs, so unless they want to get help, c'est la vie." We don't commit for CD, only for mental health reasons.

MN interprets the statute of involuntary commitment to treat life-threatening drug or alcohol abuse very seriously.

They tended to do urine tox screens in MN if there was indication of drug abuse. It was a large, county hospital, and lots of patients that "met criteria". But then again, the state has more muscle there, and testing postive may have ramifications. I do see toxicology quite a bit in my hospital in AZ as well, but you're right, it doesn't usually change the treatment plan and isn't followed up on much, maybe a quick lecture of
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Old 03-21-2008, 09:17 AM
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I think it's sadly "cool" that you recognize that you are learning lessons through each PAINFUL experience. I wish you weren't in this situation. I wish no one was. But we are, and we do still have lots of lessons to learn about relationships, life, and especially ourselves. Hang in, Marle. Sending love and prayers your way today
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Old 03-21-2008, 01:17 PM
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(((marle))) I may be wrong but these days I would imagine they knew that they were treating an addict.
You know she don't want to be around you because you are in recovery and you aren't believing her and taking the blame anymore.
When she decides to seek recovery, you will be the first person she reaches out to. You are her mom.
I hope and pray it is soon.
Just my opinion though....
Love and Hugs, Michelle
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Old 03-21-2008, 03:23 PM
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I work in critical care at the hospital and they do not routinely test for drugs/alcohol unless there is a trauma involved (usually law enforcement issues). They will question a patient on intake so that the proper steps can be made to deal with withdrawal (not everyone tells the truth). Social workers are available to assist a patient with drug treatment phone numbers/addresses if they ask for it. Definitely no routine tox screens done unless there is the trauma issue involved and their are legal repercussions....not something that you would pick up.

It is extremely easy to sneak drugs into the hospital - especially crack/heroin/meth. I've been in front of monitors at the nurses desk, see HR/BP spikes, gone immediately into the room and seen nothing but someone sitting there. We are not allowed to search people's personal property. It's a tough situation.

Sorry that you are going through this
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Old 03-21-2008, 05:00 PM
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This whole thing has just taken me a few steps back to a place where I don't want to be. I used to worry all the time about her but have been really good about giving her up to God. Things had been better with her as far as visiting me and letting me know she was okay. Then after New Year's no contact again. When I finally contacted her, she told me about the hospital. I sometimes think that she likes dragging me back into her chaos because there was no reason to even tell me about it. I guess it is her way of making sure that I don't go away completely. Just struggling right now to get back on track. Hugs, Marle
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Old 03-21-2008, 05:14 PM
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I'm rooting for ya, Marle
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Old 03-21-2008, 05:18 PM
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aww marle, I know how hard this is, it just opens up that mother heart wound...sorry, ....you'll be back on the other side soon......
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Old 03-21-2008, 05:20 PM
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(((((Marle))))))
It's hard not to take it personally, but if she is using, it's all about the drugs, not her relationship with you. We each have to work our way through these difficult ruts in our journeys in our own way; but please don't linger too long analyzing this event. The past is gone; we have today. Wishing you peace and praying as always for Megan too.
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Old 03-21-2008, 06:18 PM
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((Marle))

Hugs and prayers going out to you.
I hope you get back on the right track soon.

Colleen

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