Legal Eagle Eye Newsletter for the Nursing Profession(5)6 June 97 PDF Version 

   Quick Summary: A patient tried to sue a chemical dependency detox center for medical malpractice because the admitting staff refused to permit him to keep his Valium prescription with him so that he could medicate himself while in treatment.

   According to the patient, the Valium was prescribed by his personal physician for chronic vertigo. Because he was not able to take the Valium, the patient alleged he became dizzy, fell and struck his head. The fall was not witnessed by anyone. However, nine days later he was sent to a hospital for evaluation of headaches, numbness and speech and vision difficulties, and was diagnosed with a subdural hematoma.

   Nevertheless, the Court of Appeals of Minnesota ruled the center exhibited a high degree of professionalism in refusing to allow a chemical dependency detox patient to medicate himself with a controlled substance. Maloney vs. Dakota County Receiving Center, Inc., 560 N.W. 2d 402 (Minn. App., 1997).