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Man loses license after telling doctor about drinking

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posted on Jul, 13 2004 @ 07:07 PM

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (AP) -- A man who told his doctors that he drinks more than a six-pack of beer per day is now fighting to get his driver's license back because the physicians apparently reported him to the state.

Keith Emerich, 44, said Tuesday that he disclosed his drinking habit in February to doctors who were treating him at a hospital for an irregular heartbeat.

"I told them it was over a six-pack a day. It wasn't good for me -- I'm not going to lie," Emerich said in a telephone interview from his home in Lebanon, about 30 miles east of Harrisburg.

Emerich received a notice from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation in April that his license was being revoked effective May 6 for medical reasons related to substance abuse.

This just sounds wrong. If you admit to smoking mary jane, will your doctor call the cops? What ever happened to doctor/patirent confidentiality? I think this will make people afraid to tell thier doctors the truth. Those people who talk about an oncoming Orwellian state might be on to something.

posted on Jul, 13 2004 @ 07:12 PM
this is blatently wrong, and completely violates doctor/patient confidentiality. i used to live in singapore, and over there the doctors are required to report you to the government for any number of things, including if you have HIV, for example.

i believe there are exceptions made if the doctor believes you pose a threat to society, but the threat has to be imminent.. ie, you tell your doctor that you have an irresistable impulse to kill somebody later in the day... a six pack of beer a day doesn't count.

the doctor should be the one losing his license, in my opinion.

-koji K.

posted on Jul, 13 2004 @ 07:13 PM
Your dokter is bound to his oath and docter/patient confidentiality.

The docters that reported him should be barred from medical practice.

Drinking and smoking is legal. Only way they can revoke your drivers license is when you are caught drunken driving. When a dokter reports you or anyone else other then a police officer that made an official arrest, there is no legal way to alow them to take your drivers license.

posted on Jul, 13 2004 @ 07:31 PM
Time to break out the checkbook and send more to the ACLU!

Medical privacy vs public safety
Aside from a drunken-driving conviction when he was 21, Emerich, a pressman at a printshop who lives alone, said he has a clean driving record and does not drink and drive.

"What I do in the privacy of my own home is none of PennDOT's business," he said.

Asked if he considered his client to be alcoholic, Horace Ehrgood, Emerich's attorney, said: "It depends on what your definition is."

"He's been able to go to work, and he's got a heck of a nice work record. He's been able to function in all other avenues of life," the lawyer said.

Pennsylvania's transportation agency receives about 40,000 medical reports and revokes 5,000 to 6,000 licenses a year but does not keep any statistics on its reasons for doing so, Nissley said. She also said she did not know how many revocations get appealed.

Pennsylvania is one of six states that require doctors to report motorists with medical conditions that could affect their driving, according to the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators. The other states are California, Delaware, Oregon, Nevada, and New Jersey.

All other states and the District of Columbia allow physicians to submit reports on a voluntary basis.

Pre-emptive fascism stinks.

posted on Jul, 13 2004 @ 07:37 PM
Ok what's next, arresting people because the police think you will commit a crime?

Laws need to be changed to protect us from these too intrusive laws, not to imprison the public for crimes they have not committed.

posted on Jul, 13 2004 @ 07:49 PM
This sounds like a medical Patriot Act.

posted on Jul, 13 2004 @ 08:17 PM
Though some may agree with this (though I don't know who), there's not a political party in America that shouldn't be outraged.

Libertarians, Republicans, Democrats, everybody should unite on this and say no more.

If Rush Limbaugh isn't jumping on this after his right to medical privacy case then shame on him. He should join forces with Al Franken on this one and raise a huge bi-partisan stink.

E-mail works people.

posted on Jul, 13 2004 @ 08:54 PM
i agree with RANT.

also, some practicial advice- i've done my fair share of substances in the past (nothing to excess, but i still like to be honest with my doctor about these things) and i always have my doctor tell me that everything i tell him will be kept in confidence. this way, if anything should go wrong, at least i'll be able to say that he broke an express representation to me.

-koji K.

posted on Jul, 13 2004 @ 08:58 PM
Sounds like 1930's Germany, doesn't it?

posted on Jul, 13 2004 @ 11:54 PM
this is a joke, since when is 6 a day a substance abuse problem... that would void alot of bartender's and their girlfriends/boyfriends liscenses wouldn't it?

I mean crap, this is more than healthy for you, but if this is a 6'2 gentlemen, and that isn't all at once, or is taken at his home at night(not intending to drive afterwards), what threat does he pose to drivers?

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