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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Hospital Calls Police on Patient for Possessing Pot Legally

Posted by on Tue, Mar 19, 2013 at 3:35 PM

Twenty-seven-year-old Matthew Zimmerman wasn't thinking about the little bit of pot in his pocket when he went in for a routine exam at a Gig Harbor hospital yesterday, because Washington State voters legalized marijuana possession last fall. Plus, he says, "I forgot it was there." But shortly after a nurse smelled it and confronted Zimmerman, an officer arrived at the scene to question him.

The incident raises alarms about someone reporting to police on what is now a perfectly legal activity, but it also raises questions about whether the Catholic-affiliated hospital may have breached medical ethics and privacy laws.

Zimmerman, who went to see Dr. Faron Bauer for reasons unrelated to his marijuana intake, says he was surprised when a nurse practitioner asked a seemingly innocuous question: Do you have any marijuana on you? In a phone interview today, he says he admitted when he remembered there was some pot "underneath my second jacket."

"She asked if I used marijuana and I said, 'Yeah, obviously,'" says Zimmerman, who does lighting and stage rigging for concerts. "She said that even with the [legalization] law out there, the doctor was not going to approve of my use of marijuana, and then she walked out."

Nevertheless, his doctor appointment went fine and his three grams of pot wasn't an issue—that is, until he stepped outside St. Anthony Hospital's Prompt Care facility and found a police officer waiting for him.

The Gig Harbor Police Department confirms that the hospital called yesterday about a man who allegedly was too high on marijuana to drive and dispatched an officer to the scene. "That was the hospital’s concern—that he couldn’t drive," explains Gig Harbor Police Department spokeswoman Debbie Eason. But the responding officer, Officer Gary Dahm, didn't file a police report because, as Eason explains, "When the officer found him, he determined that Zimmerman wasn't impaired. He could drive."

Alison Holcomb, an attorney for the ACLU of Washington and the author of last year's marijuana-legalizing Initiative 502, says Zimmerman's privacy was breached.

Holcomb says that while physicians are duty-bound to report patients' conduct to authorities if they threaten the general public (say, a patient says he has urges to kill a bunch of people), merely stinking of marijuana does not meet that high bar. "This should be brought to the attention of the Medical Quality Assurance Commission—the body that investigates complaints of disciplinary breaches of medical health professionals," Holcomb says.

Zimmerman says he has filed a complaint with the commission.

"He was fully compliant with the law, but even if he weren’t, I think there is still an issue of patient confidentiality being breached," Holcomb says.

Franciscan Health System, the Catholic hospital organization that runs St. Anthony, has yet to comment on the situation, put The Stranger in touch with the nurse practitioner, or say whether they believe their employee may have violated confidentiality rules.

Zimmerman describes the whole experience as "upsetting and embarrassing," adding, "There were tons of people going in and out of that door but [the officer] knew who I was. The nurse practitioner called the cops on me." Not only did the nurse practitioner apparently divulge his private information, he says, she also ensured that he was stopped and questioned about his use of a perfectly legal substance in public.

"They don't call the cops on everyone who they hand out pills to, but they call the police when they smell some marijuana?" Zimmerman says. "I wasn't under the influence. I just smelled like weed. They shouldn't be talking about my private information, about what I say inside the doctor's office, obviously. But she just went and called the cops."


Comments (74) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
wow, I work at a hospital and even when it was illegal we would NEVER consider calling the cops for something like possession of some weed/other drugs and pipes, etc. Hospital staff are supposed to help the patient, not fuck them over with some bullshit legal issues. The worst we would do is talk to them about how the crack/meth/etc was affecting their health and offer them help (counseling, etc)
Posted by high and bi on March 19, 2013 at 3:43 PM · Report this
Granny Smith 2
My doctor is fine with pot smoking.
Posted by Granny Smith on March 19, 2013 at 3:45 PM · Report this
and yeah, they did probably violate federal HIPAA laws regarding pt confidentiality. We aren't even supposed to acknowledge a pt's presence at the hospital without their express permission.
Posted by high and bi on March 19, 2013 at 3:46 PM · Report this
Busybody nurses need to mind their own business. I had a nurse deliberately give me 1/10th of the dose of a medication I was legally prescribed by my doctor because she didn't "approve" of it on conservative religious grounds. What if I had been a pregnant woman trying to induce an abortion and been unable to do it before it was too late? Too many people get into the medical profession out of a misguided desire to play God and interfere with their patient's lives.
Posted by pranagraphic on March 19, 2013 at 3:47 PM · Report this
GlibReaper 5
I wonder if the cops track people who park near dispensaries and feed that data into their squadcar-mounted ALPR systems. Yes, I'm paranoid and no, it's not because of weed.
Posted by GlibReaper on March 19, 2013 at 3:49 PM · Report this
That's crazy. My doctor actually encouraged pot intake for my ovarian cyst pain. Her practice won't let her give me a medical mj card but she thinks it is great that i'd rather just eat a little pot rather than beg her for vicodin or percocet like alot of patients do.
Posted by tigntink on March 19, 2013 at 3:50 PM · Report this
I can't imagine what the nurse thought she was accomplishing with this action. What possible good could come of it?
Posted by heatherly on March 19, 2013 at 3:50 PM · Report this
sperifera 8
I suspect that this will be the end of Nurse Ratchet's employment at that medical facility...
Posted by sperifera on March 19, 2013 at 3:55 PM · Report this
My parents live in Gig Harbor and they have to deal with idiots like that nurse all the time. I swear that whole town is made for middle-aged conservatives to do nothing but play golf, watch Fox News and gossip.
Posted by Andy_0))) on March 19, 2013 at 3:58 PM · Report this
Meh. Uppity nurse, competent officer. If the hospital gets a small fine and apologizes, then everyone can move forward.
Posted by fetish on March 19, 2013 at 4:01 PM · Report this
More, I Say! 11
That's fucking messed up. I hope the hospital gets more than a slap on the wrist. And that judgy-assed nurse should be fired. If she's uncomfortable treating a patient who's in possession of harmless and legal weed, then she can quietly leave the room and try to find a replacement.
Posted by More, I Say! on March 19, 2013 at 4:02 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 12
Uh, a Catholic hospital!?! And self righteous bitch is a surprise?
Posted by Pope Peabrain on March 19, 2013 at 4:03 PM · Report this
Banned on The Seattle Times 13
Fuck...the idiot that called the pigs on MZ should be hit by a 70 MPH....
Posted by Banned on The Seattle Times on March 19, 2013 at 4:12 PM · Report this
Rather a dick move by the nurse, one the police should have ignored unless the nurse claimed the gentleman was too impaired to drive safely, but I'm concerned about the attempts to color it as a privacy issue. That the gentleman smelled of weed was something the nurse happened to notice while interacting with him, not part of his protected medical records. If he'd been in prison garb, or wearing an eye mask and carrying a bag marked with a huge $ sign, she might report him for those noticeable traits without violating the privacy of his medical records. Reporting that he smelled of pot is similarly legal - it's just dumb, as smelling of pot (or, indeed, carrying pot) is perfectly legal.
Posted by Warren Terra on March 19, 2013 at 4:18 PM · Report this
Props to the cop for handling this professionally. With decades as a Class 1 narcotic status, it's going to take a little time to adjust to legal weed.
Posted by Westside forever on March 19, 2013 at 4:23 PM · Report this
chaseacross 16
I mean, if a patient came into a hospital with car keys and a half-empty bottle of vodka, that might warrant such an intervention, but I'd the guy wasn't obviously impaired...

This does underscore the continued awkwardness surrounding marijuana in this state. I still catch myself speaking a little quieter in public about marijuana use and I still fins myself surprised when older folks talk only about toking. I wonder how legalization is going to affect marijuana as a signifier (counter culture, youth, hippy, petty criminality). What is marijuana going to mean ten years from now?
Posted by chaseacross on March 19, 2013 at 4:24 PM · Report this
Had a similar experience at the Seattle VA except they basically ignored the fact I reeked of cannabis after asking me if I had it. they just wanted to know the source of the smell. BTW, I was an inpatient.....
Posted by pupuguru on March 19, 2013 at 4:32 PM · Report this
Would the nurse have reacted the same way if the guy had walked in reeking of booze?
Posted by decidedlyodd on March 19, 2013 at 4:34 PM · Report this
Hmmm, mixing snoopy moralistic religious nutbaggery with general delivery of medical care. What could POSSIBLY go wrong?
Posted by MLM on March 19, 2013 at 4:39 PM · Report this
fletc3her 20
Even if a patient walked in reeking of booze I would hope the hospital would try to arrange for them to get a ride home rather than calling the cops to get them before they got back to their car.
Posted by fletc3her on March 19, 2013 at 4:45 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 21
"yeah, obviously" is a great answer.

but 3 grams? why walk around with a month's supply (which for me is more like 6 months)?
Posted by Max Solomon on March 19, 2013 at 5:04 PM · Report this
Cascadian 22
The problem here is 1) Catholic hospital and 2) Gig Harbor.

We need to do something as a society about the Catholic monopoly on medical care in many areas. It's a menace to have religious zealots in charge of the only otherwise high-quality medical care.

As for #2, I grew up during a big chunk of childhood in the Gig Harbor area and it is undeniably conservative and small-town in its thinking.
Posted by Cascadian on March 19, 2013 at 5:09 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 23

I disagree. What substances (controlled or uncontrolled) a patient consumes is a part of his/her medical record and should not be something a medical practitioner reports to the authorities. Period.

What is this asshole nurse going to do when a legitimate addict walks through the door and asks for help getting clean? Would you be okay with her turning that patient in rather than helping him or her? I would not be.
Posted by keshmeshi on March 19, 2013 at 5:24 PM · Report this
Dougsf 24
Lame, and totally unprofessional.

Now I say this next bit not as a matter of ethics, morality, or victim blaming—but one of manners: Learn to wrap your weed, please. Everyone.
Posted by Dougsf on March 19, 2013 at 5:34 PM · Report this
@22, unfortunately the Catholic medical corporations are buying up hospitals all over the country (or "collaborating" with other hospitals). I'm sure one of the aims is to make abortions/prescriptions for birth control impossible, even without getting rid of Roe v Wade.
Posted by sarah70 on March 19, 2013 at 5:49 PM · Report this
TVDinner 26
@14: See @3. She very likely did violate HPPA.
Posted by TVDinner http:// on March 19, 2013 at 6:06 PM · Report this
Did the nurse feel the patient was impaired and was going to drive home? If so kuddos to the nurse. If she allowed someone to drive who was impaired and they got in an accident the nurse would be liable.
Posted by Carlos123 on March 19, 2013 at 6:37 PM · Report this
@21 Shit, I'm old. When I was young, our pot was a lot weaker than yours, but we used to buy it by the ounce (about $25 in the '70s). Might last a couple weeks. I shared a lot, but others shared a lot with me, too. What was pot without friends to smoke with?

The laws got stricter, as I moved into the corporate universe my friends got less cool, and I decided it was affecting my clarity (YMMV), so I stopped smoking.

Note to anti-pot alarmists: no, it is definitely not addictive. It's fun, it's relaxing, it has minor residual effects which fade over time, it may not be great for young still-developing brains, but it's not addictive.
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on March 19, 2013 at 6:41 PM · Report this
Did the nurse think the patient was under the influence and driving? If so Kuddos to the nurse. If the nurse let the patient drive under the influence and they got in a accident then the nurse could be liable.
Posted by Carlos123 on March 19, 2013 at 6:42 PM · Report this
@29: That's false on all counts. You're (intentionally?) conflating laws about overservice (bartenders can be liable for DUIs) with mental health laws (psychiatrists must report dangerous patients). There is no scenario where a medical professional is required to speculate about whether a patient is impaired and to therefore call police in case they might be both impaired planning to drive. Repeat after me: there is no such requirement or liability.

But thanks for making shit up to support the poor Catholics. God knows they need the help.
Posted by also on March 19, 2013 at 7:20 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 31
@28: i'm older than you think. i used to buy it for $35/ounce. if you smoked today's per-gram weed in that amount, you'd be catatonic. no one's smoking 3 grams in a day.
Posted by Max Solomon on March 19, 2013 at 7:22 PM · Report this
I was recently seen at the same hospital in the ER for appendicitis. Dr Bauer asked me of my MJ intake and I answered honestly and directly. He never judged or appeared bothered by my use. Nor were the GHPD awaiting my departure as I was loaded on pain killers after surgery. I agree with many, this nurse should lose her state license and career.
Posted by GHResident on March 19, 2013 at 7:28 PM · Report this
You guys are missing the point, there is a difference between smelling like pot and being under the influence. If he had rammed his car into you or your kid ,you would be sitting here saying why did the nurse not call the cops? Fucking hypocrites all the time. She did what was right to protect the people on the road.
Posted by Quitbitchingandgetajob on March 19, 2013 at 7:48 PM · Report this
The nurse did the right thing, the guy was high, even admitted he used weed. You would be bitching like babies if he had driven his car and smashed into you, or your kid on the road. Then you would be trying to say the nurse did not do her job by protecting the public. God dam hypocrites.
Posted by Quitbitchingandgetajob on March 19, 2013 at 7:52 PM · Report this
espato 35
the hospital should be named so that others may make an informed decision whether to seek medical services there or elsewhere.
Posted by espato on March 19, 2013 at 7:55 PM · Report this
Dr. Z 36
That is a serious HIPAA violation that could open the hospital to major legal and financial liability.
Posted by Dr. Z on March 19, 2013 at 7:58 PM · Report this
@29, Could have asked "are you on marijuana" or "are you high" etc, and the answer "no" would have solved any of those issues. Lastly, the number for a taxi service is as simple to find as the non-emergency number for the cops.
Posted by michael bell on March 19, 2013 at 8:09 PM · Report this
Everyone trying to downplay this is wrong. There are rules about information that is gathered during medical exams.

If there was a concern about impairment, there were several other ways of handling this directly and professionally.

The nurse should be reprimanded or fired and the hospital is open to legal action. And I wouldn't be disappointed if that happened just to send a message.
Posted by Jude Fawley on March 19, 2013 at 8:12 PM · Report this
I'm a nurse and would never have handled that situation that way. In fact, I can't imagine any nurse I know acting in such a reprehensible way. We aren't all bad.
Posted by LisaRn on March 19, 2013 at 8:23 PM · Report this
@33,@34: Lay off the multiple redundant replies, ok? Between the moronic "reasoning" and duplicate posts, you're the one coming off as high and/or dangerous. The nurse violated patient confidentiality, imagined a crisis where there was none, consumed police resources for a non-issue, and discouraged pot smokers from seeking medical attention. It was morally, civilly, and perhaps criminally wrong.

Enjoy the high horse, but odds are this is going to lose her job and likely lead to the hospital settling a civil suit. And rightfully so. It is not medical practitioners' place to call police on patients whose lifestyle they don't approve of. As the police established, the guy was not impaired.
Posted by also on March 19, 2013 at 8:30 PM · Report this
Seriously? The nurse has a legal responsibility to report someone if they feel they may do something that can harm others. Look at the Aurora shootings and how people immediately went to blaming the shooter's mental health providers for not reporting that he was dangerous. If a man came in to a hospital, smelling like rum, with an open container of it, people would assume he had been drinking. So if you go into a hospital smelling like weed, with an open container of it (because I don't know where you get sealed containers of it), then it makes reasonable sense to think he's been smoking. Did she over react? Sure, but that can easily be placed at the feet of the fact that weed as a legal substance is a new thing. There are so many mitigating factors here that are not being shown or commented on, and even Mister Zimmerman's admitted response of "Yeah, Obviously" sounds antagonistic.

It's a very fine line medical professionals walk when it comes to drugs. On the one hand, you don't want to say something or draw attention to it, because it could effect the person feeling safe to come in for treatment, and on the other, you have a responsibility to protect others if the person is being dangerous about it. One thing we have to also consider is that while Mary Jane may be legal, it does not change the fact that it is indeed a drug. Legal or not, it does effect our bodies, and more importantly our minds. I hate how people try to make it seem harmless when it is absolutely not. There are some cases where it is a lesser evil or people being adult enough to make their own choices about how they treat their bodies.
Posted by JaydedCammie on March 19, 2013 at 8:34 PM · Report this
For all those claiming there is a HIPPA violation, yes HIPPA does allow for medical providers to report you to authorities, under the same rules that govern mental health.…

@37 Because people always tell the truth when they have already given what could be seen as an antagonistic answer to earlier questions?
Posted by JaydedCammie on March 19, 2013 at 8:56 PM · Report this
Assuming she actually did think he was impaired, there is a huge difference between "let me call you a cab, or why don't you grab yourself a cup of coffee until you come down?" and calling the cops.
Posted by Breadbaker on March 19, 2013 at 9:06 PM · Report this
@41 The marijuana equivalent of an open container of rum would be a lit bowl or joint.

As for smelling of pot, these days good bud reeks, really reeks, a zip lock won't cut it. I carry mine in a small airtight ceramic container.

Therefore your argument would have one conclude, that you'd be ok with the nurse calling the cops on you after noticing you had a fifth of rum sticking out of your bag and asked if you drank.

What if instead of answering ""Yeah, Obviously", he answered "no it's a gift for a friend"? Still ok with her calling the cops?
Posted by Machiavelli was framed on March 19, 2013 at 9:30 PM · Report this
@41, the only duties the nurse had were 1) to report any worries she had to a doctor and 2) NOT report them to anyone outside the medical environment. That's it.
Posted by sarah70 on March 19, 2013 at 9:56 PM · Report this
@42, we only have the information provided by the patient, but based on what's stated here, the nurse does not appear to have take the basic steps to ascertain whether the situation was a serious and immanent threat. The nurse can possibly be given some leeway based on ignorance, but she acted unprofessionally an inappropriately. Why on earth didn't she ask the patient when the last time he smoked was? Was it obvious that he would be driving? Why not address the situation directly with the patient prior to disclosing his personal information? Or ask the doctor to do so, if she didn't feel comfortable? Healthcare providers are supposed to be trained in this type of situation; furthermore, hospital are supposed to have policies and supervision so that staff don't have to figure out such situation by themselves. Someone - either the nurse, or hospital staff, made a big blunder in decision making here.
Posted by Jude Fawley on March 19, 2013 at 10:09 PM · Report this
@44 It's all a matter of perspective, and no, him walking in with a lit bowl or joint would be him walking in taking a swing of rum. To someone who may not understand the culture, their perspective could easily be "Well if he smells like it, and he has it on him available, and he's being sarcastic about me asking him about it, he has been using it."

And yes, if I smelled of rum, had an open fifth on me, and was being sarcastic to the nurse about it, I would rather except she would call the cops.

@45 Nurses can report. Not only can they, but many places treat nurses as front liners who are the first lines of defense. As long as it's done in good faith, and there is nothing here to show that she was doing it to be spiteful, and most courts will assume good faith unless there is proof or history of abuse, she is allowed to report him to the cops.

Healthcare is a dangerous field, and most workers are required to take training that assumes that at some point, someone will potentially assault the workers. Be it someone who is intoxicated, mentally unstable, angry, confused, or just a jerk. If anything, her reaction was rather cautious.
Posted by JaydedCammie on March 19, 2013 at 10:18 PM · Report this
I agree with the most of you that this moralistic bong drip of a nurse should be fired, or at least suspended, for treating a medical visit like Catholic confessional, and that the god's-work Catholic hospital should have the hell sued out of her.

Again, if the nurse was *really* concerned that the guy was impaired - *which he obviously wasn't*, according to the cop - then leave it to the doctor. At the very last resort, ask the patient to stay until they're sure he's not intoxicated. But it is NOT the nurse's power-tripping job to play police investigator, prosecutor, and judge.

And what's with the "the doctor does not approve" crap? I don't approve of her moronic Dr. Laura complex. God, I hope they can her.
Posted by floater on March 19, 2013 at 10:20 PM · Report this
@46 You're right, we only have the perspective of the patient, which is being spun in a way that would favor him. None of us know for sure what the full details are. All I can do is give personal perspective based off what I have learned through classes, training, and my own experiences. For all we know, the gentleman from the article was being antagonistic and she was worried about it escalating if she continued to ask him questions.
Posted by JaydedCammie on March 19, 2013 at 10:23 PM · Report this
"She asked if I used marijuana and I said, 'Yeah, obviously,'" says Zimmerman, That right there says that he was high, and she was concerned for the publics safety. The only way she would of broke hippa policy is if she told authorities his name. Reporting a person under the influence does not violate the hippa policy, calling him by name does. My question is 3 grams is more than for personal use, and why did the officer not arrest him? I am sure the nurse is aware it is legal to posses marijuana , but it is illegal to be under the influence while operating a motor vehicle in Washington state.
Posted by Quitbitchingandgetajob on March 19, 2013 at 11:05 PM · Report this
You liberals are so concerned about her reporting this fool that is high on drugs, but yet you vote for a president that wants to report people in various mental disarray to authorities, you got what you asked for, more people in your personal lives, and yet you sit here and bitch when it affects you. Funny on the double standards.
Posted by Quitbitchingandgetajob on March 19, 2013 at 11:13 PM · Report this
HE WAS NOT HIGH ON DRUGS!!! The cop let him go.

Jesus. How many times? Read the friggin' post. You conservatives are so eager to mount your hypocritical high horse (Typical. No wonder nobody likes you.) that you'll totally miss major details in a story that don't support your moralistic jihad.

Conservatives => Make stuff up.
Posted by floater on March 19, 2013 at 11:25 PM · Report this
@47, "If anything, her reaction was rather cautious." I'm curious what you feel would be an incautious but still reasonable reaction to the situation...

In real life, medical professionals deal with people of all stripes and situations, and if they acted like anyone who uses drugs is a potential threat to their lives, nothing would ever get done in a hospital. Any typical nurse who's been around the block is not going to call the police out of fear just because some guy smelled like pot and said something that could be construed as sarcastic (but was also true). If they feel that they are at risk, there are policies about what to do about this - call hospital security might be a first step, I imagine. If she felt physically threatened or intimidated, the officer should have been informed of this.

Anyway, blah blah blah, the courts will hopefully work this out.
Posted by Jude Fawley on March 19, 2013 at 11:38 PM · Report this
The question "Have you used marijuana?" and "Have you used marijuana today?" are fundamentally different questions. If someone asked me if I've "used marijuana" I would say yes, but it has been 6 years since my last use. The patient was only confirming that he used pot, because it was in his pocket, not that he was currently high.
Posted by montex on March 20, 2013 at 12:12 AM · Report this
@5 The humble bicycle, eternal friend of the pot fiend.
Posted by Pate on March 20, 2013 at 3:04 AM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 56

Seriously, the Catholic Church and it's various minion organizations only understand one thing.. MONEY. MAKE THEM PAY. And nothing less than 9 figures
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on March 20, 2013 at 3:26 AM · Report this
Wow, Cienna, I'm not sure who wrote the headline but could it be any more incendiary?

The hospital says the nurse practitioner called the police because the patient was planning to drive home and she thought, based on her experience, the patient might be impaired. That's mandatory reporting, not a breach of privacy. This is a non-story of a person who was questioned and went on his merry way.

To all the people who think medical folks call the cops every time they smell weed, please - get over yourselves. There isn't time in the day.
Posted by NURSE_ANANDA on March 20, 2013 at 3:32 AM · Report this
blackhook 58
That this happened in Washington State is indeed disturbing.

Cienna, i'm wondering what you might suggest that we can do to voice our STRONG disapproval for the Catholic Church (virtual) takeover of many of our hospitals (and bravo to you for so ably reporting this a few weeks ago!) ...a petition drive to reverse hospital board decisions? calls to hospital administrators?

Personally, i am appalled that we have essentially reverted to medieval management & religious hocus-pocus-dominocus in many of our hospitals. Young women being quoted Bible verses & being lectured to rather than getting real treatment & answers, and now someone being reported by a Nun - er, Catholic-affiliated Nurse - is absolutely shocking in our otherwise advanced Northwest society. Thank you for exposing this Catholic Church takeover, and here's hoping that at least some of these affiliation decisions can be reversed. Religion & its dogma & superstitions & fairy tales & sanctimony has no place in our hospitals!
Posted by blackhook on March 20, 2013 at 4:12 AM · Report this
seattlejenny 59
Catholics practically invented hospitals. Get over it. Completely irrelevant to this story. Working there certainly says nothing about religious affiliation.
It says she was a nurse practitioner not a registered nurse, a really big difference. A nurse practitioner actually has prescriptive powers and is a lot more like a doctor. To me this makes this a much worse violation of privacy. She really should have the training to know better. This woman was way off base.
Sorta ruins the article for me by throwing in that useless Catholic bit though. I say that as a devout agnostic who is very pro-life and hated my workplace being bought out by a Catholic institution recently.
Posted by seattlejenny on March 20, 2013 at 6:24 AM · Report this
@59: Thank you for reminding everyone that this is about a nurse practitioner, not an Rn. An NP has basically a master's degree in medicine, not a two-year degree. She has a lot more knowledge than does a nurse. Well, book knowledge; my guess is most nurses have a lot better idea about how to work in a hospital than she showed.

He was not intoxicated. Even if he was, there are better ways to handle it. Just smelling of weed is not evidence of recent usage (and *any* medical professional should know what someone high looks like).

This is absolutely a HIPAA violation. There was no direct, imminent threat to the community.
Posted by clashfan on March 20, 2013 at 7:35 AM · Report this
Dominic Holden 61
@59) If you don't think Catholic hospitals are restricting access to reasonable care, read this. It's absolutely critical to point out that this is a religious institution.

Catholic hospitals are the ones that seem most willing to forgo ethics and law in order to impose their ugly prejudices. In the Pacific Northwest, where Catholics are taking over hospitals in rural areas, this is a major problem. Who cares if they have good intentions if their health care is based on biases and denying treatments? The truth is, they are compromising health care so they can force medically unsubstantiated superstitions on how women make choices about their own bodies, how the terminally ill control their own death, and what law-abiding citizens do for fun.
Posted by Dominic Holden on March 20, 2013 at 8:19 AM · Report this
I love how he goes "They don't call the cops on everyone they hand pills out to." No a hospital will require you to provide proof of a ride home before giving you the pills though.
Posted by JaydedCammie on March 20, 2013 at 10:46 AM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 63
@5- I expect after the State Weed stores open, Idaho State PD will be writing down every Idaho plate in the parking lots of the Western stores and pulling over those cars as they enter their state.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings on March 20, 2013 at 10:56 AM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 64
@62: Bullshit. You obviously haven't picked up opiates at a hospital pharmacy lately.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty on March 20, 2013 at 11:11 AM · Report this
@64 Second degree burns in October. I was basically told get a ride home, or all you get is a prescription you can fill out later when we release you.

Ripped up my shoulder in 2009 my car keys were given to my coworker

Fell down Beacon Hill in 2008, 3rd degree sprain of one of my knees. Was not released until friends arrived to take me home.

Yes I am a klutz, and yes, hospitals will give you a prescription without checking how you are getting home, but they will not dose you without knowing you can get home safely.
Posted by JaydedCammie on March 20, 2013 at 11:30 AM · Report this
@65 must depend on the practice / hospital then. I've had dental work done and just been allowed to leave on my own. I was also given tylenol with codiene (never had it before) and was allowed to leave on my own from the emergency room at NWhospital.
Posted by tigntink on March 20, 2013 at 12:20 PM · Report this
@50: "My question is 3 grams is more than for personal use, and why did the officer not arrest him?"

What world do you live in where 3 grams is more than for personal use? I think you might be confused on units of measure. Three grams is less than 1/8 ounce of pot - it is pretty much the SMALLEST unit of measure when it comes to pot (although dispensaries now sell it by the gram, but even still most patients would buy multiple grams as a single gram is about a joint worth, three is not a large number for a single person whatsoever).

Under Washington medical marijuana laws, patients are allowed to have OUNCES of marijuana (each ounce being 28 grams or so). In some states, such as Oregon, up to an ounce is decriminalized and is a ticket only because it is actually DEEMED personal use. In Washington, up to an OUNCE of marijuana was made legal for ALL adults - that is 28 grams, far more than the three you think he should be arrested for....
Posted by JenAlexander on March 21, 2013 at 1:33 AM · Report this
My oncology nurses are so okay with my weekend pot use. The synthetic stuff, marinol, makes me dizzy and they were so happy to see I'd gain a much needed 10 pounds. Go munchies! Go awesome nurses!! (and here it's illegal).
Posted by cblack on March 21, 2013 at 4:16 PM · Report this
@61: We're not at all confused about how Catholic hospitals deny birth control and abortion and other important aspects of sexual health.

For this story, though, it's irrelevant.
Posted by clashfan on March 22, 2013 at 8:39 AM · Report this
seattlejenny 70
@61- Out of the desire not to be a total bitch I decided to leave out how terrible I think that article was. I am not pleased to be working in one of those hospitals that was taken over and am extremely angry about the abortion issue. Swedish actually funded that Planned Parenthood, which the article chose not to mention. Due to the editorial nature of your whole newspaper, which I generally love about it, I read between the line and notice how many other facts are skewed and left out. Fact is Catholics have always owned more hospitals than anybody else. It is not some insidious take over, they just happen to be good managers. Swedish begged them to take over after practically going bankrupt. We did not do assisted suicide before that happened anyway.
Posted by seattlejenny on March 22, 2013 at 9:24 AM · Report this
blackhook 71
Good managers, seattlejenny? Screw that, when as Dominic said the Catholics are already imposing their religious voodoo on our local hospitals, Swedish included - and which you point out! Yes, Swedish had financial issues, but why is it a good thing to do a deal with the devil?
Posted by blackhook on March 22, 2013 at 2:05 PM · Report this
seattlejenny 72
I just make a living and support my family. Quite worried that I might have to leave due to a decline in quality, treatment of employees, layoffs and possible slashing of health insurance- see Providence Olympia right now. All the bullshit that makes them good managers from a hospital ownership perspective.
All I meant was that this story is unrelated and that the other article was drawing false conclusions for hype.
Posted by seattlejenny on March 22, 2013 at 6:17 PM · Report this
wilbur@work 73
awesome blamefest of the 'nurse', when an NP is at blame. That's actually far worse, but don't let that stop the 100% of you from talking back to the next nurse you encounter, at the catholic hospital you'll wind up at (yep, even in Seattle).
Posted by wilbur@work on March 23, 2013 at 10:54 PM · Report this
@47 The word you are confusing sarcastic with is condescending. Sarcasm implies a false answer given in an obvious fashion to illustrate the simplicity of either a concept or the mind of ones audience. While it is itself condescending by nature, it is not the act of being condescending itself. Put simply by example, it would only be sarcasm had he answered something like "No, Cannabis is just my favorite flower. I like to keep a bouquet on me in case I come across a room that needs brightening up." Even just "No", given the proper inflection.

I feel like more people used to know the difference. Hooray, society.
Posted by Broken at Best on February 20, 2014 at 2:35 PM · Report this

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