Do they need consent for a tox screen? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 65 Old 02-28-2006, 02:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My OB sent me to the local ER to get checked for pre-e/hellp because the weather is to severe to drive the hour to L&D. I'm at high risk, showing signs and this evening started with severe upper right quad pain and my BP was high when I was checked at the ER. The dipstick Dr REFUSED to check liver function because I wasn't johndus (sp?) so I was obviously fine but he did how ever run a tox screen for every street drug out there! He said he was running a UA and Chem, when the lab came in to draw I asked them what he'd ordered hoping he'd changed his mind and she said CBC and chem. When I got copies of my labs before leaving it was right there, bastard ran a tox screen! It was neg but I am really PO'd that he did it without consent. He didn't even ask me about drug use. I mean yeah my hair was air dried rather then blow dried and styled and I had no make up on but I by no means looked like a druggie!

Seriously?
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#2 of 65 Old 02-28-2006, 02:32 AM
 
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That stinks. It makes me so mad the way they think they own you. Sadly I don't think they need consent. It seems pretty standard.

-Angela
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#3 of 65 Old 02-28-2006, 12:59 PM
 
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I'm not sure if it's exactly legal or not but I know in my state it is done all the time. Especially to mamas with medicaid and or mamas of color. I live in the worst state in the US for rights of women when they are pregnant. It sucks.
I'm sorry your rights were violated.

Many healthy , healing vibes to you!

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#4 of 65 Old 02-28-2006, 01:05 PM
 
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They do not need consent. They do not have to tell you they are running it either.

And some of the biggest druggies dont look like the typical druggie.

How are you feeling today?
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#5 of 65 Old 02-28-2006, 01:21 PM
 
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I remember reading an article once that said anytime a pregnant woman is brought in with premature labor or other emergency issue prior to her edd, it's standard procedure to run a tox screen, so they can know how best to treat the problem, and immediately rule out any drug interactions, etc.

(And the PP is right -- not all "druggies" look like druggies. I wouldn't take offense to the test being administered. I doubt it had anything to do with how you looked.)

Honestly I wouldn't worry about it unless you'd actually been doing drugs, which you hadn't.

I'm not a fan of drug testing without consent, but if it can help treat an emergency and save a life (or lives in the case of a pregnant woman and her baby), then that's not a bad thing, so I'm not sure why you're so upset. Did they charge you for the test?

Testing a pregnant woman in distress is different than raiding a locker at school, IMO. You're trying to save two potential lives here.

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#6 of 65 Old 03-01-2006, 07:18 PM
 
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Druggies don't always look like druggies. People LIE all the time. If you have nothing to hide and insurance pays for it I see no harm.
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#7 of 65 Old 03-01-2006, 07:23 PM
 
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Are you serious it's not a big deal if you don't have to pay for it and you have "nothing to hide?" How about that it's a violation of your choice, your privacy, and your physical body! And that the US has ridiculous drug laws, and ppl could be at risk of losing their children for a little bit of weed.

Talk about complacency.
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#8 of 65 Old 03-01-2006, 07:29 PM
 
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: I would be livid too. They have no (moral) right to run tests on you without your knowledge and consent! Unfortunately, the probably do have the legal right.
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#9 of 65 Old 03-01-2006, 07:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama
Are you serious it's not a big deal if you don't have to pay for it and you have "nothing to hide?" How about that it's a violation of your choice, your privacy, and your physical body! And that the US has ridiculous drug laws, and ppl could be at risk of losing their children for a little bit of weed.

Talk about complacency.
Exactly, I had to surfer through severe debilitating morning sickness that had me living off an IV for 10 weeks because I was terrified some idiot would do a drug screen and i'd lose my children because of some stupid law. MJ is fantastic for neasua but CPS wouldn't care, all they would care about is I had a positive tox screen.

Seriously?
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#10 of 65 Old 03-01-2006, 07:59 PM
 
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I've never done drugs, but I would be LIVID if they did anythign like that. They also test for AIDS and all sorts of other stuff, I'm sure, and I'd be pissed if they did that. I'm doing unassisted pregnancy because I don't like the idea of them doing all that. (and I know I don't have AIDS because I trust my husband and have only been with him, he's only been with me). It's a trust thing. If you can't trust me to be truthful about fidelity/drug use, then how on EARTH can I trust you to care for me properly and respect my wishes regarding no vaxes, late cord clamping, even no circumcision, etc.

People will use the 'no harm came of it and it didn't cost you anything' for vaxes without consent, CPS 'holding' the children for a week while things are looked at, and even circing without consent.

Personally, I will not let a doctor see my children undressed unless there is a problem with the genitals. I don't trust anyone. And I'm sure I'll come across a doctor who will say 'if you have nothing to hide, then why not let me see' as in he's accusing me of abuse because I will not let an almost stranger see my child naked.

This topic gets me.

Deep breath...

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#11 of 65 Old 03-03-2006, 01:37 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by myhoneyswife
People will use the 'no harm came of it and it didn't cost you anything' for vaxes without consent, CPS 'holding' the children for a week while things are looked at, and even circing without consent.
Hang on a second. There's a HUGE difference between testing an adult for a substance ingested voluntarily, and INJECTING a substance forcefully into a child.

What on earth would make you even compare the two?!?

Bottom line is if you do drugs, don't go to the hospital where they might test you. It's common sense honestly, ESPECIALLY if you're pregnant.

It's realistic to expect that if you go in for premature labor there's a really good chance you'll get a tox screen. Duh. Why? Because some drugs (legal and illegal) can trigger premature labor and they do it to rule out drugs as a cause, so they'll know more specifically how to treat it. Truthfully it's being medically responsible and proactive in some cases, especially if the life of the baby or mother is at stake. And most drug users wouldn't give consent voluntarily, and their lives or that of their child could be at risk as a result.

If a pregnant woman comes into the hospital in premature labor but is semi- or unconscious, then of course they're going to do a drug test.

And if she comes in dead sober and wide awake, they STILL will, because not everyone's honest about what could be the cause of the premature labor and if they tried to treat you with certain medications that could interfere with the drugs you've taken it could worsen things or be deadly even.

It's not like they're sitting there testing you for jollies. Geez. You think they just sit around all day bored waiting on a pregnant druggy to come in so they can ruin her day by testing her? They're usually kind of busy -- they've got lives to save. Being pissed at them for doing their job is pointless.

And if you're in the hospital for premature labor then it's pretty freaking serious. You're there because it's an emergency situation, and a tox screen isn't forced medication, poison, nor a life-altering disfigurement, as you've compared it to. It's a TEST. And in an emergency, it's to be expected.

Sheesh, common sense. We live in a country where drugs are illegal. I'm not saying it's right or wrong AT ALL but that's how it is -- if you're pissed over it, and want to do those illegal drugs while pregnant that's your right as a human being, but if it pisses you off that you get caught when you go in for an emergency like premature labor, then avoid the hospital and pray a lot. But to say it's an invasion of your privacy and shouldn't happen, when it can help determine why something has gone wrong and has put you or your child's life at risk is being UNREALISTIC.

Is it unfair for them to test you for drugs when you come in for a problem during pregnancy? Well no shit. Being tested without permission sucks. But fairness unfortunately becomes irrelevent in an emergency. And in a fair world, everyone would be honest too. And in a fair world no one would NEED drugs.

Look, I'd be pissed too if I randomly got tested like at the grocery store one afternoon because I have red hair, or some random doctor "I've got a cold" visit, because those would be without ANY evidence or provocation on my part.

But when it comes to pregnancy and emergencies that's a whole different ball of wax. It's not just your health and safety but that of your unborn child. And if it's a serious enough problem that requires you to go to the hospital then you SHOULD expect to have every possibility and cause considered and that includes drug use.

Deal with it. If it pisses you off, write your congressman. But deal with it because it's REALITY.

But don't condemn those of us who say if you go into premature labor expect to be tested, by comparing us to people who would inject poison into children or physically maim them without permission.

I'm horrified and offended that anyone would dare say such a thing. There's a huge difference between an adult getting caught having done drugs and forcing drugs into a child.

Absolutely horrified.

SAHM to Guinevere (04/05/06) and Eowyn (02/13/09)
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#12 of 65 Old 03-03-2006, 02:14 AM
 
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About AIDS testing, in our state they have to have your permission to test for it.

Dr wasnt happy I refused went I went for my first (and last) prenatal visit with a dr.
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#13 of 65 Old 03-03-2006, 02:24 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by babydoll
Druggies don't always look like druggies. People LIE all the time. If you have nothing to hide and insurance pays for it I see no harm.
Everyone I knwo who uses illegal drugs regularly is white middle class. there is no standard fior what a druggie loks like. Ok meth has a "look" but for manythings you would be surprised whose high.

I wouldn't be offended. It is part of ruling out causes and preventing drug interactions. its pretty standard blood work.

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#14 of 65 Old 03-03-2006, 03:27 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nighten
Hang on a second. There's a HUGE difference between testing an adult for a substance ingested voluntarily, and INJECTING a substance forcefully into a child.
I understand that there is a huge difference, but I see SO many invasions of privacy that *this* is why I am UPing and UCing. I DO NOT do drugs, but I do want my privacy to be respected. I'm honestly not even sure if I want to do the PKU testing for my kids. Know why? Because they keep the little blotter cards with my child's DNA indefinitely. There is nothing I can do about it, they just keep them. It is absolutely rediculous.

For me it is an issue of trust. I do NOT trust doctors one bit. They (not all, but if you present to an ER, it's hard to tell) will do what they want when they want and if they're in a bad mood, they'll hold things against me and do it their way just to show me who's boss. I had to go to a clinic to get birth control the first few years of our marriage because I would not submit to a pelvic exam. They made me come back every 3 months to check my blood pressure. If I had submitted to a pelvic exam, I would have only had to come back every year. Not having a pelvic has nothing to do with whether my blood pressure needed to be checked more often or not, they were just trying to make things difficult for me.

I think the drug testing (especially because with my insurance I have to pay the first $5000 out of pocket) if I said that I had not used any drugs is not for them to do. They are paid to help me. If I say that I do not have STDs, don't test me for STDs. If I say that I don't do drugs, then don't test me for drugs.

If the doctor tells me that he is not testing me for drugs, then goes around behind my back and tests me anyway, I think that is wrong. He may as well set up spy cameras in my house and tap my phone lines also (to check for excessive alcohol use, which is apparently legal in the US even if one is pregnant), as that isn't directly hurting me by maiming me or injecting me with harmful substances. To me, blood testing without consent is just another form of spying and is wrong 100%.

I go to a doctor to be helped. I tell them what I would like, but I do not think that me going in for premature labor or anything else gives them free reign to do whatever they feel like. If I die or my baby dies because I said I was not on drugs, when I was, then that is MY PROBLEM, not anything to do with them.

I still thinking that tox screening without consent is wrong completely. Mothers want to help their children, and if they can't do that without their privacy being violated, then that puts us all in a very difficult position.

Cara
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#15 of 65 Old 03-03-2006, 03:36 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nighten

Bottom line is if you do drugs, don't go to the hospital where they might test you. It's common sense honestly, ESPECIALLY if you're pregnant.
When you get done being "absolutely horrified," you might want to reflect on how it is exactly attitudes like this that prevent women who use substances (and women who don't but who don't like to have their privacy violated) from accessing prenatal and postnatal care. Which magnifies the risk of harm to fetuses and newborns.
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#16 of 65 Old 03-03-2006, 04:14 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by myhoneyswife

I go to a doctor to be helped. I tell them what I would like, but I do not think that me going in for premature labor or anything else gives them free reign to do whatever they feel like. If I die or my baby dies because I said I was not on drugs, when I was, then that is MY PROBLEM, not anything to do with them.

I still thinking that tox screening without consent is wrong completely. Mothers want to help their children, and if they can't do that without their privacy being violated, then that puts us all in a very difficult position.

Cara
Exactly. That IS the problem. The US Gov DOES think it's their job to take care of you and your baby.
IE I have a problem with the seat belt law. Seat belts do save lives and I do wear mind, but it is not something IMO Congress needs to legislate about. I think the gov should govern the economy, establish regulatory agencies like to check meat for safety, run police depts, ect. If you are dumb(or in a hurry, or just absent minded that day) and don't wear your seatbelt, you pay the price anyway(injury). So, I just don't think it is a law our gov should spend time worrying with.
Same thing. I completely agree that the previous poster is right, but the gov does not see it that way. On this, I think the gov is flat out wrong.
So, accept it, and deal with it. The gov does not value your privacy, don't expect them too.

To the original poster, I empathize with you. I would be bleepin' po'ed too!
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#17 of 65 Old 03-03-2006, 08:04 PM
 
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Sorry - no empathy here. The doc should have told you, yes, but to me, a pregnant woman in the ER, it's fine to run a tox screen as standard protocol. Why? Well, it's one thing if a woman does something to trash her own body or life, but it is a whole other thing when it affects an innocent child.

As for seatbelt laws - they protect other drivers too. If you don't wear a seat belt, and you are in an accident, you can be thrown or even shifted from your seat and unable to control the car. You have a greater likelihood of staying in your seat and maintaining control over the car if you are wearing a seatbelt. So I am safer as a driver on the road if YOU wear your seatbelt.

When stupid behavior impacts others, I am glad that there are laws in place to influence at least the stupid behavior.
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#18 of 65 Old 03-03-2006, 08:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by CountryMom2e
Sorry - no empathy here. The doc should have told you, yes, but to me, a pregnant woman in the ER, it's fine to run a tox screen as standard protocol. Why? Well, it's one thing if a woman does something to trash her own body or life, but it is a whole other thing when it affects an innocent child.
I wouldn't have been so PO'd if he's just told me he did it and it was standard procedure but he hid the testing from me and thats what pissed me off. I was there to be checked for HELLP syndrome which looks nothing like someone on drugs.

Seriously?
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#19 of 65 Old 03-03-2006, 08:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by CountryMom2e
Sorry - no empathy here. The doc should have told you, yes, but to me, a pregnant woman in the ER, it's fine to run a tox screen as standard protocol. Why? Well, it's one thing if a woman does something to trash her own body or life, but it is a whole other thing when it affects an innocent child.

As for seatbelt laws - they protect other drivers too. If you don't wear a seat belt, and you are in an accident, you can be thrown or even shifted from your seat and unable to control the car. You have a greater likelihood of staying in your seat and maintaining control over the car if you are wearing a seatbelt. So I am safer as a driver on the road if YOU wear your seatbelt.

When stupid behavior impacts others, I am glad that there are laws in place to influence at least the stupid behavior.

You said exactly what I was thinking!
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#20 of 65 Old 03-03-2006, 11:22 PM
 
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Whether or not they need consent to test a mom varies state by state. In my state, they never need consent to test a baby. I'm a child protective services supervisor (a very unpopular profession here, I imagine), and can tell you that my agency does not intervene when moms or babies test positive for marijuana alone. We also don't respond when folks are busted for growing pot, unless there are other safety hazards present-mom too stoned to notice her two year old is in the street, for instance. What we are really really concerned about in a tox screen is methamphetamine. I'm a huge ACLU fan, civil liberties advocate, and clearly see both sides of these issues. HOWEVER, meth, and heroin, and heavy alcohol use, and cocaine can be devastating when used during pregnancy (and also during bf, most of them) and it does become a child safety issue that there is a larger community interest in protecting-just as we don't have the right to starve or poison or neglect our born children, even if we want to. The sad truth is that it is naive to think that moms make the best choices for their children all the time, and moms who are untreated addicts are not making conscious, rational choices at all-their addiction is choosing for them. I always support keeping babies with moms and getting moms into treatment where they can have their babies with them, when mom can be honest and baby can be safe.

To respond to OP, I have done this work for almost 15 years, and I get surprised and fooled by addicts all the time. SOme look like stereotypical "meth freaks" and some look like (and are) the PTA mom at my daughter's school. Really don't take offense that you somehow looked like an addict. Hospitals have different protocols about who they test; some test people with no documented prenatal care, or with a history of addiction, or with premature labor (meth causes premature labor frequently) or who are brand new to the hospital/area. Yes, your doctor should have been upfront with you. It makes me crazy-OBs and physicians are really inept and uncomfortable about talking with patients about tough stuff like this. ON the other side, most addicts lie (heck, I would in their shoes).

Sorry for the long post-I know this is a tough issue.
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#21 of 65 Old 03-04-2006, 03:26 PM
 
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Thank you both Mel and Renee. You both took the words right out of my mouth. I nodded through both of your entire posts.

Do I think the testing should be done? Yes.

Do I think consent should be asked? Honestly it would be nice but their priority is saving your life and the live of your child not whether or not you are honest about your "drug use" (not saying you ARE using). They need to know what (if anything) is in your system to be able to correctly diagnose and treat you.
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#22 of 65 Old 03-04-2006, 05:35 PM
 
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I would not be upset. It think that it is in the best interest to the doctors to have a better idea of what they have to deal with.

If you are concerned about the tests that are run. Then I think that when you arrive you need to tell them to inform you of any and all test that they would like to run no matter how standard it may be and that no test shall be run without your consent.
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#23 of 65 Old 03-04-2006, 08:24 PM
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I for one, am grateful that hospitals run the tox screen with or without consent. If they didn't my crack whore SIL would still have custody of the 6 kids she's delivered with crack in their systems. People like her are the reason the testing is done.
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#24 of 65 Old 03-05-2006, 11:06 PM
 
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I would have been furious. But i don't really see how you had any other choice, satori, but to go into the er to have your blood work done..... which sucks, because i think the whole situation shows how little control women really have over their own bodies, especially during pregnancy. Tbh, the whole thread makes me feel like my full value as a human rests with being a fetus incubator.

And am in total agreement with this.
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama
When you get done being "absolutely horrified," you might want to reflect on how it is exactly attitudes like this that prevent women who use substances (and women who don't but who don't like to have their privacy violated) from accessing prenatal and postnatal care. Which magnifies the risk of harm to fetuses and newborns.
Also, limace, your agency might not go after the dope smokers, but many other agencies have in the past & still do. And bitter, hard lessons from the past are not easily forgotten, or forgiven...... ime there is a wide range of 'illegal drug' users, from the aforementioned 'crackwhore' to the occasional pot smoker. Mass testing at hospitals puts all of these women at risk of losing their children to the state, & in the vast majority of the cases I can't see how that is helpful at all.

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#25 of 65 Old 03-06-2006, 01:04 AM
 
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Originally Posted by aussiemum
Tbh, the whole thread makes me feel like my full value as a human rests with being a fetus incubator.
Ug, this is why I'm having a hard time being 'pro-life.' Now I'm a pro-lifer who does not vote, as the pro-life legislation seems to be biased toward the government having absolute control over pregnant women. I beleive life begins at conception, and termination of that is wrong, but I do not believe that the government should have the rights to tell me what to do because of the above-mentioned fetus incubator deal. Stuck between a rock and a hard place... Stupid government, I'm leaning more anarchist all the time.

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#26 of 65 Old 03-06-2006, 02:26 AM
 
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Satori, I would have been furious, too. :

I think it's pretty scary that people think it's okay to have your privacy violated if the reason is "good enough". Doesn't anyone see how subjective that can be? IMO, no reason is good enough. Privacy is privacy and it's non-negotiable.
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#27 of 65 Old 03-06-2006, 02:34 AM
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Mass testing at hospitals puts all of these women at risk of losing their children to the state, & in the vast majority of the cases I can't see how that is helpful at all.

Well, if you aren't doing drugs while you're pregnant you won't have anything to worry about. I have no sympathy for people who put their babies lives in danger by smoking pot or doing harder drugs. What do you think that's doing to your unborn child? Don't even give me that crap about it not hurting anything--if you're inhaling smoke it's cutting off oxygen to the placenta.
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#28 of 65 Old 03-06-2006, 02:37 AM
 
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I review labwork at my job, so I see women's prenatal records as they get filed. I'm often transcribing the data onto our forms. It's always interesting what different areas of the country do for prenatal testing - it really varies. About 10% of the records come in with "substances of abuse" testing. The women did not consent for that any more than they really consented to the cystic fibrosis screen or the sphyllis screen. It's just drawn and done.
I share your anger. It would be a lot more respectful to answer your direct question. Even if the answer is, "I will not do the blood work without this other test, per our hospital policy". There is value in honesty, IMO, even if it leads to a confrontation.

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#29 of 65 Old 03-06-2006, 02:45 AM
 
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2sweeties - Smoking marijuana does not put fetuses' lives in danger. As for smoke cutting off oxygen to the fetus, have you ever found yourself behind the exhaust pipe of a car or truck while pg? I would worry a lot more about that than occasional marijuana smoke.

I'm glad I don't live in the States. What a lot of hysteria.
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#30 of 65 Old 03-06-2006, 02:52 AM
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2sweeties - Smoking marijuana does not put fetuses' lives in danger.

Sure, keep on telling yourself that. I used to think like you--now I have a 5 year old with severe asthma and ADHD.
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