View Full Version : Is there a doctor in the room?

04-24-2012, 10:24 PM
If a patient came in to emergency and it was discovered that they had a bag of cocaine in their pocket, and they told the doctor they wanted it back.
a - would the doctor call the police?
b - would the doctor give it back?
c - what would the doctor do?

04-24-2012, 11:56 PM
It depends on the location and the doctor. There are places where reporting is required, but that's unenforceable. So it mostly comes down to what the doctor wants to do.

Drachen Jager
04-25-2012, 12:29 AM
My guess would be a and c. Nobody wants a confrontation in a hospital. It's simply not a doctor's job to enforce drug laws and doing so could risk the safety of patients.

Only if the doctor is a total yahoo would he think otherwise.

04-25-2012, 03:11 AM
I'm not sure why anyone would go through the pockets. Even when clothes are cut off, you don't go through the pockets. Definitely wouldn't be a doctor doing this.

But when you discover something like this, you contact hospital security. Hospital security would post someone by the patient's door and call the police. Emergency departments are used to patients that are not happy campers. The security department is frequently right next door.

Problem is that if someone in the hospital gives back something they think is cocaine, then that person would be assisting in a crime. Even if there's no mandatory reporting requirement, no medical professional is going to risk breaking the law, and probably their license to practice medicine.

N.C.I.S. did an episode sort of like this. Talk about a fairy tale!!! You can ignore stuff, but once you know about it, notification happens.

Unless it involves patient treatment or statements necessary for their treatment. Then HIPPA applies and you can't say anything. So if a patient comes in saying they'd taking coke and was having a bad reaction, the medical staff can't contact the police.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Amber Nae
05-15-2012, 08:58 AM
I don't work in an emergency room setting, I work the floor, but when we have found drugs in a patient's room we don't just leave it. Security is usually informed and supervisors are notified just for job safety reasons. I dont believe you can report it to the police unless they leave with it or become a danger to you or themselves. I've had an incident where a patient was under the influence and trying to leave the hospital, the cops came and got her and took her to jail for it, but we could not tell them the reason she was admitted because it would be a HIPPA violation. You are not allowed to release any information about a patient to anyone that is not directly involved in their care. But, as soon as she walked out of the facility she was no longer a patient there and it was obvious she was under the influence.