Is It Illegal for Hospitals to Drug Test Without the Patient Knowing

Updated on September 18, 2012
R.N. asks from Garland, TX
9 answers

I went to the emergency room last month because of chronic kidney pain, pain in my pelvic area, frequent urination, urgency and slight bleeding when I would go to the bathroom. When I go there my temp was 100 and my blood pressure was a little elevated. I wasn't feeling good at all. I was diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis(IC) that is inflammation of bladder and is not curable. When they took my urine and blood, I had asked them what they were going to check for and they told me some things but NEVER a drug test. I received a $171 pathology bill in the mail yesterday and all it had on it was all these drug screenings they did to me that equaled up to $171. I was angry! They had checked me for the whole kit kaboodle! Every illegal drug out there, they checked me for it. I couldnt believe it! I have been to the emergency room several several times throughout my life and have NEVER been drug tested. My question is, is it legal for Emergency Rooms/Hospitals to check you for illegal drugs without your consent or telling you? I am going to fight this bill because I did not agree to any of this nor was I told. I do not feel its right to pay a $171 for all this drug screening when I wasnt even aware I was getting tested. I have nothing to hide, I was negative for each and every one of them they did. I am really angry, I feel taken advantage of by the hospital, like they need to rack up pointless charges that I was unaware of until now. I really want to know if this was legal for them to do or not for them to do. This was a shock to see they tested me for everything! They even sent me home with hydrocodon for pain. I really have problems with being treated as a druggy because I had to go to the er for chronic pain. I know there is many people that use hospitals as there own supply of drugs and because of them people like me get treated like them. I am angry with people that use doctors like that. Anyway, sorry for the vent, I am just really upset about this. Thank you for your answers in advance mama's!

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answers from Dallas on

I do not know about the legal issue of this but I would also be roaring with anger and fighting it.

You made a good point that so many people who just want drugs, etc go to the ER and it makes the honest ones like ourselves end up being treated like the violators when we have to go to the ER. I agree with you.

I have no problem with any Dr. testing me...AS LONG AS I KNOW IN ADVANCE what they are doing and why. To hide it from you then charge you for it was wrong in my opinion.

Good luck fighting it, don't give up.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

i think is illegal they have to tell you what test are they doing i was at e.r 2 years ago because inflamed gallblader they do blood test but not drug test you should fight this bill .

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Amarillo on

First, go back to that hospital and get a copy of your records, it will prob cost you a dollar a page for them but get them and tell them you want the entire chart from you visit on that day with all lab work included and doctors notes and diagnosis. The search the internet for a lawyer who will do first consultation free and take it all to them. They viloated your patient rights. They can not preform any test or administer and medications without informing the patient first of exactly what they are doing and why. There are a lot of violations here and they do need to be stopped. Most attorneys that do first consult free waive their fees for a percentage of the award. If they take your case which they will only do if they think they can win. They were not justified in checking you for drugs and did not inform you especially if you asked exactly what they were testing for and they lied. If the attorney does not feel you have a strong enough case then keep my name and there are other routes to take.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tyler on

I would contact the hospital and contact your insurance company and tell them that you did not agree nor was there any reason for them to ask for this test to be done, and that you should not have to pay for these tests.



answers from Dallas on

nope, not illegal... you signed a general consent. frustrating, yes, but not illegal. maybe you can work somthing out with the lab? does your insurance not cover labwork? i would just try to negotiate a lower price with the lab. sorry you're dealing with that!



answers from Dallas on

It's not illegal- you sign a general consent to get treated and tested.



answers from Houston on

My wife and I were both drug tested when we went to the ER for having West Nile virus. We weren't told anything! They said if we had come up positive, they couldn't treat us. Your answerer who said that they needed to test you for drug interactions didn't know what he was talking about. This test is only for what are considered illegal drugs and doesn't cover any scrips or OTC drugs that you might be taking. This is a result of the government, specifically the DEA, getting into your personal business. It is a result of the drug war. It should be illegal, but it isn't, because too many fools thought that it was a good idea to surrender all of their rights to stop Johnny from smoking weed. Good luck!



answers from Dallas on

I don't know all of the legalities involved, but I would agree with a previous poster that they probably had to check to make sure whatever they gave you didn't interfere with anything already in your system. Also, isn't is possible that they needed to check for illegal drugs to make sure something you ingested wasn't the cause of your pain? Most of my knowledge of ER procedures comes from television, so I'm not the best source, but just a thought.


answers from Dallas on

I think one of the main reasons they test is so that if they give you medication in the hospital - they make sure you don't have anything in your system so you don't overdose or something...

Just a thought.

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