Patient confidentiality

I am 19 years old and occasionally smoke marijuana. Recently, I hurt my neck in a car accident and my mother took me to the doctor. It just so happened to be that it was also time for a physical so they took blood out. They called my mother and told her the doctor had to see me about my results. It is nothing urgent and i don’t have any medical problems. My question is, can i get in-trouble for having marijuana in my blood stream:confused:

Since this involves legal advice, it’s better suited to IMHO.

General Questions Moderator

Short answer, no. The doctor shouldn’t tell anyone, including your mother, what the results are. Also, they don’t routinely check for marijuana use, (although I can’t speak to what your doctor might have tested for).

If, however, you are making a claim for injuries due to the accident, the marijuana use (if it shows up in the medical records) could be an issue. It happens pretty frequently and is not the end of the world. All of this assumes you weren’t under the influence of marijuana and driving at the time of your car accident.

No, it is not illegal to have done drugs in the U.S. Medical professionals see people that use drugs and patients with drug addictions all the time. It doesn’t matter if it is marijuana, heroin or cocaine. Their job is to treat you medically and not serve as law enforcement.

You also have HIPAA laws protecting your test results. The doctor cannot share them with anyone including your parents without your explicit consent. It is a law with strict penalties for violations so most healthcare professionals take it very seriously.

Law enforcement can’t see your results either without a court order and they can’t get one for someone like you that hasn’t committed any serious crimes. Even if they could, they still couldn’t do anything to you. Drug laws for users target current possession and not past use. You could march into your local police station and brag that you love to do lines of cocaine every morning with your breakfast and they still couldn’t arrest you if you didn’t possess any at the time.

Unless you were sent for testing by an employer, or you were the individual responsible for your car accident (in which case your medical results might be made available for legal proceedings), they shouldn’t say a word to anyone.

Speaking as a physician, I doubt very much they tested your blood for drugs. That’s not a usual thing to do, especially without informing you.

And of course now the question is what actually is the finding they need to talk to you about?

$100 says low Vitamin D. It’s all the rage now…

As totally-not-a-physician, I was thinking the same thing - it seems very unlikely they would be doing a drug test without having a specific reason to. It’s not like there’s one general catch-all blood test that will simply break down every molecule of anything that can possibly be in the blood (unless, perhaps, you’re on Star Trek). They have to do certain procedures and look for certain reactions, and they base that off what the doctor orders, who bases that off whatever he’s looking for in the first place.

Daily Cartoon: Friday, September 11th

Drug tests are usually done with urine.

Chances are, the doctor may have seen something abnormal, or potentially abnormal, in your results, and wants to discuss it with you.

Your mother will not know anything unless you tell her.

Funny. I read the replies as: “You don’t have to worry about your mother finding out you smoke weed, you probably just have cancer/AIDS”.


No wait…