Carson (16) has been using cannabis for epilepsy since May with great success. She suffered several seizures a day before, but she has only had two over the last eight months since she has been on medical marijuana.
Mom of epilepsy patient won’t take the chance of hospitalizing her daughter without access to cannabis for epilepsy
Times Herald Record reports on Jennifer Livesey, the mom of Carson, a 16-year-old epileptic who must be hospitalized to have tests done for her condition. Orange Regional Medical Center (ORMC) won’t allow her to use cannabis for her epilepsy during her stay of three to seven days.
Carson has been on the medical marijuana program for eight months, and it is more than a year since state-appointed companies have been dispensing from locations licensed across the state. Hospitals may not dispense medical marijuana. Only five companies paying fees to the state are permitted to supply patients.
Federal funding equals federal classification
Hospitals such as ORMC rely on federal funding and are therefore faced with the federal classification of marijuana as a seriously dangerous and illegal drug with no medicinal use.
A spokesperson for the ORMC, Rob Lee, informed Livesey via email that the state law does not allow for patients to use medical marijuana while staying in hospital. The hospital will find therapeutic options to meet the requirements of patients and their physicians.
Lee further said medical marijuana is a complex issue loaded with emotion, but the hospital strives to provide outstanding compassionate care.
Awaiting guidelines from the health department
Charity health systems also await the health department’s guidelines, said spokesperson, Helene Guss of Bon Secours Charity Health Systems. She says that the pain physicians her organization works with have voiced their support for medical marijuana.
In an interview, the state Health Department could not specify when guidance to New York hospitals will be forthcoming but said the issue is under review as part of the expansion planned for the medical marijuana program.
The Health Department is planning to propose amendments to regulations which would allow hospitals to create policies and procedures allowing certified patients to self-administer medical marijuana products after an approval process.
Chronic pain was included on the program this month, and nurse practitioners will be allowed to certify patients. Home deliveries will also be allowed, and the number of dispensaries will be increased to make medical marijuana more readily available to patients. But this will only work for them when they are not in hospitals dependent on federal funding.
None of these improvements will help the Liveseys right now, and the tests had to be postponed by Carson’s neurologist for the time being.
Cannabis for epilepsy
Jennifer says cannabis for epilepsy is controlling the seizures, and she is disgusted with the lack of thought and consideration given to patients. If Carson can’t have the tests done while she is on medical marijuana, what is the purpose of those tests? The results will only show the response to being off medical marijuana, not what it has done for her.
Apart from this, the Liveseys are not prepared to take the chance of Carson having daily seizures again because she can’t be on cannabis for her epilepsy while in hospital for tests.