Man Denied Life-Saving Liver Transplant Due to Medical Marijuana Usage

Pic: Hupu2 (CC)

Sick people being condemned to a painful, lingering death due to using a medicinal plant that doesn’t have the blessing of Big Pharma? It’s the American Way!

Via Alternet:

After being diagnosed with liver cancer in 2009, Norman B. Smith applied to the liver transplant list at Cedar-Sinai hospital. While waiting for a transplant, Mr. Smith underwent chemotherapy in an attempt to destroy the cancer eating away at his liver. This caused severe side-effects, common to many cancer patients. In an attempt to curb the pain, and on the recommendation of his oncologist, Mr. Smith began using medical marijuana. Cannabis has become increasingly common as a medicine of choice for patients undergoing chemotherapy, since it increases appetite and reduces pain—minimizing the chance of a patient developing cancer related wasting syndrome. Finally, in September of 2010, Mr. Smith was notified that he was eligible for a liver transplant and was placed on the liver transplant list. Mr. Smith continued his treatment and submitted to drug testing per the hospital’s transplant list policy. After testing positive for THC (one of the active chemicals in marijuana), Mr. Smith was taken off the transplant list and denied a life saving procedure.

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  • BuzzCoastin

    survival of liver transplants for patients with liver cancer is <60% over 5 years
    which essentially means the operation is a dice throw
    and
    usually liver transplant candidates are screened for substance abuse
    alcoholics are screened out for liver transplants
    so it's not just pot

    • http://www.facebook.com/matt.phelan83 Matt Phelan

      You’re missing an important point here; pot doesn’t kill your liver. Alcohol does.

      • BuzzCoastin

        you may be missing an important point
        this story is supposed to show that he’s being treated unfairly
        when in fact only 1 out of 3 waiting get a liver
        so the section process is a process of elimination
        it’s not like everyone who needs one gets one
        additionally
        he already has liver cancer, which cuts his survival chances
        either way he dies eventually
        and so at best
        the transplant gives him Vegas Blackjack odds of survival

        the fact is
        we don’t have the complete facts about this case

        • http://artasith-m-nasdsnre.tumblr.com/ Simon Valentine

          can’t not double down on a kidney transplant, which it isn’t?

        • http://twitter.com/rini6 irene haralabatos

          We know other people have a hard time getting liver transplants. The point is that pot use is a ridiculous reason to deny someone.

    • Mick-Doscious

      The difference is his doctor urged him to seek relief by using it, no doctor on the face of the earth and in the history of medicine has ever told someone awaiting a liver transplant to go out and slug beers and shots; the drinker cannot get a transplant because they caused the condition. The smoker only did so at the behest of his doctor. He can and by all means should sue. A “blackjack” chance is still a chance, and a chance he should have been at least entitled to.

      • Calypso_1

        Entitled?
        You think the donor liver went to waste?

        Right or wrong about the policy, there is no entitlement to the process.

      • BuzzCoastin

        > his doctor urged him to seek relief
        I can imaging the touching scene now
        nonetheless
        you’re forgetting how the game really works
        there’s not enough livers to go around
        patients with the greatest chance of survival go first
        liver cancer patients have a lower than average chance
        blaming his reject on pot, no one really cares except pot smokers
        deny him because he’s got cancer and look out

  • http://artasith-m-nasdsnre.tumblr.com/ Simon Valentine

    i’m not convinced against Moses
    i’m not sick enough of being convicted
    could you tell me as please
    that that isn’t needs
    that it isn’t anything we could say
    placebo inertia built up like a curtain
    ripped apart by my needles and doll
    beating cancer in closets
    but i’m not claustrophobic
    so minds obviously we don’t know
    we don’t know
    we don’t no

    • Matt Staggs

      A challenge appears. Buzz Coastin to the free-verse arena, please.

      • http://artasith-m-nasdsnre.tumblr.com/ Simon Valentine

        edit past emotion
        fallacy extortion
        evil as a good
        and a final pain stood
        up the back as a was
        so ancients serpents spluds
        splattering attack
        like a wajet
        a wager
        i balance unstable
        a rule ignored
        a shadow form
        to them they’re physical
        so the jokes on it
        and the shadows on that
        and i’m before it
        so what’s time got to do with it
        is the question mortal’s ask

  • tootie

    this is straight fucked i’d go into a killing rage using my iv as a wepon

  • jamie

    i am in the same boat. I am a VET going the VA hospital. They also don’t give u a liver if u smoke pot. Well I smoke so I wouldn’t die from malnutrition and it helps with the pain I won’t let the govt tell me how to die. So I smoke and will have a somewhat better life at the end then the govt wants me to have. So much for the presuit of happiness, only on paper, i guess.. Well I don’t dance to the govt tunes. I am a free man whom has served and still I can not get the help I need to be happy. others that are in the same boat as me has to make a decision on their onw way they want to leave this world. I believe in God , so i look forward to getting there but I would like to have a pleasent trip. Good luck and don’t worry, be happy :)

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