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  1. #1
    figurer is offline Junior Member
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    Mar 2009
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    Who is legally permitted to give medical advice

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Ohio

    I am wondering who is permitted to give medical advice over the phone. I apologize for the length of this post, but I'm not sure it would make as much sense without the details.

    I am asking because I visited my regular doctor on a Monday for a sore throat. I've had strep several times and I wasn't having the typical symptoms. But after three days with no improvement, I decided to go have it checked.

    His medical assistant (not an R.N. or even L.P.N.) is the person who does the basic blood pressure, weight, temp, etc. She is not trained in giving injections, taking blood, etc. but is able to do the "quick strep" test, which the dr. then reads. It's simple, almost identical to a pregnancy test so anyone could look at it and figure out if it says positive or negative.

    The quick strep test was negative and it's standard to then send it to a lab for a 24 hour test. My dr. came in, glanced at my throat and said it was neg. but prescribed an antibiotic anyway, just in case the 24 hour test was positive, which has happened in the past. I explained that I was not having the "usual" symptoms. He sort of dismissed what I was saying & just gave me the rx.

    I went home and like a lot of people, I googled until I hit upon something that was exactly what I was experiencing. I had been taking antibiotics recently for a different illness and suspected I had oral thrush as I remembered what it looked like in babies.

    I waited another day to hear the results of the 24 strep test, which was still neg. and then called my dr. back because I couldn't eat as the spots were spreading and so was the redness and pain.

    The phone was answered by his medical assistant who told me that it was probably just a virus and to spray some throat spray on it. I told her I thought it was thrush and she said "only people with HIV or AIDS get that, so that can't be, it's just a virus"

    Another day, more pain, another phone call. This time, I was transferred by the receptionist to the medical asst again who gave me the same advice and refused to make an appt for me to be seen again.

    Finally, four days of suffering later, my husband called and demanded I be seen because I hadn't been able to eat, sleep and now could barely talk. I was seen by my dentist in the meantime because I broke a molar tooth completely in half. The dentist told me he thought it was thrush before I even said a word and said I had to have it treated before he could work on my tooth since there was too much danger of infection.

    My dr. finally agreed to see me, gave me medicine for thrush though he still didn't think that's what I had and the throat cleared up within a day or so.

    Long story short, should a medical assistant be giving medical advice over the phone (or at all?) This was very frustrating and now I've had to go the entire weekend with a broken tooth, still unable to eat because of that just because she thought she knew what was wrong with me and wouldn't even tell my dr.
  2. #2
    lealea1005 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by figurer View Post
    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Ohio

    Long story short, should a medical assistant be giving medical advice over the phone (or at all?) This was very frustrating and now I've had to go the entire weekend with a broken tooth, still unable to eat because of that just because she thought she knew what was wrong with me and wouldn't even tell my dr.
    Simple answer: No. She was, without a doubt, wrong in stating that the only adults with HIV/AIDS get thrush. From your treatment at that office, I would suggest finding a new PCP.

    Your broken tooth is a separate issue.
  3. #3
    Dewey is offline Member
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    So the 24 hour throat culture was negative?
    Last edited by Dewey; 03-09-2009 at 11:15 AM.
  4. #4
    mommyof4 is offline Senior Member
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    Ohio via TX
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dewey View Post
    So the 24 hour throat culture was negative?
    From her original post....

    I waited another day to hear the results of the 24 strep test, which was still neg. and then called my dr. back because I couldn't eat as the spots were spreading and so was the redness and pain.
  5. #5
    barry1817 is offline Senior Member
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    Southern Ca.
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    medical

    Quote Originally Posted by figurer View Post
    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Ohio

    I am wondering who is permitted to give medical advice over the phone. I apologize for the length of this post, but I'm not sure it would make as much sense without the details.

    I am asking because I visited my regular doctor on a Monday for a sore throat. I've had strep several times and I wasn't having the typical symptoms. But after three days with no improvement, I decided to go have it checked.

    His medical assistant (not an R.N. or even L.P.N.) is the person who does the basic blood pressure, weight, temp, etc. She is not trained in giving injections, taking blood, etc. but is able to do the "quick strep" test, which the dr. then reads. It's simple, almost identical to a pregnancy test so anyone could look at it and figure out if it says positive or negative.

    The quick strep test was negative and it's standard to then send it to a lab for a 24 hour test. My dr. came in, glanced at my throat and said it was neg. but prescribed an antibiotic anyway, just in case the 24 hour test was positive, which has happened in the past. I explained that I was not having the "usual" symptoms. He sort of dismissed what I was saying & just gave me the rx.

    I went home and like a lot of people, I googled until I hit upon something that was exactly what I was experiencing. I had been taking antibiotics recently for a different illness and suspected I had oral thrush as I remembered what it looked like in babies.

    I waited another day to hear the results of the 24 strep test, which was still neg. and then called my dr. back because I couldn't eat as the spots were spreading and so was the redness and pain.

    The phone was answered by his medical assistant who told me that it was probably just a virus and to spray some throat spray on it. I told her I thought it was thrush and she said "only people with HIV or AIDS get that, so that can't be, it's just a virus"

    Another day, more pain, another phone call. This time, I was transferred by the receptionist to the medical asst again who gave me the same advice and refused to make an appt for me to be seen again.

    Finally, four days of suffering later, my husband called and demanded I be seen because I hadn't been able to eat, sleep and now could barely talk. I was seen by my dentist in the meantime because I broke a molar tooth completely in half. The dentist told me he thought it was thrush before I even said a word and said I had to have it treated before he could work on my tooth since there was too much danger of infection.

    My dr. finally agreed to see me, gave me medicine for thrush though he still didn't think that's what I had and the throat cleared up within a day or so.

    Long story short, should a medical assistant be giving medical advice over the phone (or at all?) This was very frustrating and now I've had to go the entire weekend with a broken tooth, still unable to eat because of that just because she thought she knew what was wrong with me and wouldn't even tell my dr.
    anyone can give advice, but when you call a doctor's office I would assume that you are expecting professional advice from the office.

    I would advise reading your state's professional code regarding the practice of medicine, which should spell out who can give advice to a patient, and what the problems are should a person not qualified to give advice, or an opinion do so to a patient of record.

    In other states this can fall into either the category of practicing without a license or the aiding and abetting of unlicensed practice of medicine, but these are very specific terms with specific definitions that must be met to be applicable.

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