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Can a doctor perform a drug test without cause and without my consent?

Austin, TX |

I went to a new ob/gyn today because I have a cyst on my right ovary. I filled out the new patient paperwork turned it in & was asked to give a urine sample. The doctor came in & went over my normal medical history. He asked if I did drugs, I said no, because I don't. He changed his tone & sarcastically asked why did I tested positive for amphetamine then. I am a 32 yo college student with ADD & take adderall twice a day as it is prescribed. I was told when I checked in that the doctor would have access to my records including prescriptions (since all the doctors are connected.) I was VERY offended when I was asked this question and I'm even more shocked that they preformed a drug test without my knowledge. Can a doctor perform a drug test without cause & without my consent?

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Filed under: Criminal defense
Attorney answers 1


Although it is unusual for a physician to do such a test without your knowledge, it is not illegal. In most cases, when you registered to be seen by your new physician, you signed a form giving them permission to treat you using their best judgment. Drug screens (frequently referred to as "Tox screens") are frequently ordered in places like emergency rooms to test for possible causes of changes in mental state, etc. The patient rarely knows they were ordered because they were part of a routine "work up." Most physicians do not order tests without a reason, if only because they want to maintain a good relationship with their patients.

The other reason most physicians do not order such tests without reason is that unless there was a legitimate reason for the test, your insurance will not pay for it and your physician would have to pay the lab fees themselves. Of course, the issue of confidentiality remains, and even with test results in hand, physicians are prohibited from disclosing anything to anyone without your permission.

I would have a talk with the physician, if I were you, and express your concerns. Allow him or her to explain the reason for the test, and explain to them why it was positive *they may not have looked at your past history before ordering it). Perhaps they will realize their error and not only become more attuned to your needs, but those of their other patients as well.