In the early part of the 21st century, a cannabis/marijuana-THC* false positive on one's medical record is detrimental and indelible. The following recounts what happened when the Midwest Center for Sleep Medicine placed such a false positive in my medical records on November 23, 2011.
SUMMARY STATEMENT: complaint about false positive cannabis/marijuana-THC*.
RE: overnight sleep test & next day nap study,
at Midwest Center for Sleep Medicine on November, 23 2011,
ordered by Dr. Burr, pulmonologist and co-owner of Midwest Center for Sleep Medicine
Because (1) the “specimen analysis was performed without chain of custody handling” as stated on the BroMenn lab report, (2) THC false-positives are known to result in 5% to 10% of tests, (3) I should have been retested when I first objected to this in 2011, but was not, (4) I do not take marijuana, and (5) since there has never been any other finding of illegal drug in my system, and (6) this BroMenn lab false positive finding of THC publicly accuses me of an illegal activity without recourse to correct it. It defames me. Please take this false positive off my medical record. Thank you. Annmarie Throckmorton, M.A.
I received no response from Dr. Burr or anyone else at the Midwest Center for Sleep Medicine. Ever.
In the middle of the night during my sleepover in 2011 at the sleep apnea clinic Midwest Center for Sleep Medicine, I awoke to find myself in the middle of an argument with a sleep technical who was standing over me as I lay startled in bed. She aggressively admonished me, "Oh, no you don't. We were just finally getting your (inaudible) results, you are not going to wake up now. I had been told that I was the only one doing a sleepover in the building that night, so I hoped to avoid any further altercation with her to which there might not be any witnesses, by being compliant. With good willpower I soon went back to sleep, but the experience was unsettling. That technician standing over me, haranguing me as I awoke was an assault of sorts because of the fear it put in me, but the more enduring assault was on my reputation when a few days later I got notice that the Midwest Center for Sleep Medicine had found a positive test result for Cannabis-marijuana-THC in my urine specimen, that they analyze for drugs with each sleepover. I do not do drugs, so I know without doubt that was a false positive, and I immediately feared that false positive would have a deleterious impact on any subsequent patient-doctor relationship, possibly even on future insurance coverage available to me. Especially considering that one false positive for THC would propagate from one doctor to the next as my medical records are shared via computer. To this day I am appalled, dismayed, and angry. THC is illegal, I’ve been defamed by Midwest Center for Sleep Medicine, and it seems that I must carry this stigma to my grave. I have had many, many very bad experiences with habitual drug users and I keenly resent being lumped in with those idiots.
I spoke to the director of the Midwest Center for Sleep Medicine, I believe it was George Haake, as soon as I found out about the THC false positive. I remember sitting in the lobby of Midwest Center for Sleep Medicine and telling him how upset I was about it. He pleasantly, insipidly told me not to worry, “No one will be prejudiced against you because of it.” He did not suggest a drug retest, and retesting never occurred to me. Drug use and drug testing were very far from my usual frame of reference.
After the director left, the receptionist at the Midwest Center for Sleep Medicine tried to comfort me, saying, “Well, they’re going to legalize it anyway, so it’s not a big deal.” Yes, it is! I agree with decriminalizing it, but I don’t agree with legalizing marijuana because it robs the user of initiative and impairs their cognitive thinking, rendering them lazy and stupid. I repeat, I do not use marijuana. A few years later when I applied for social security disability benefits the judge denied my claim, with harsh comments about the "marijuana" use imputed to me in my medical records. Nothing I said changed her opinion of me as a druggie, which is infuriating to this day.
My primary care physician Dr. Sheppard, said the false positive cannabis/marijuana-THC test is “a legal document and cannot be changed.” She was pointedly unsympathetic, and I changed doctors shortly thereafter, which was an inconvenience.
I talked to a local attorney who told me that he had had many clients in similar situations over the years, and he had found that the medical profession flatly refuses to change cannabis/marijuana-THC false positives. He advised me that there was nothing I could do legally.
I mailed letters of complaint requesting an investigation to the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation, with copies to the Midwest Center for Sleep Medicine, 1709 Jumer Dr # A, Bloomington, IL 61704-0914. (309) 662-9997 midwestsleep.org
I received no significant reply.
Drug use is probably one of the first statistics a doctor checks in assessing what might be wrong with a patient. This false accusation of illegal drug use now reverberates throughout my medical records, and is echoed in the attitude of every doctor I see, that risk being their belief that if one did not do drugs these physical problems would not have happened, which may be true, except that I DON’T DO DRUGS, and I never did drugs.
2011—PERSPECTIVE ON MY COMPLAINT.
"Cannabis Control Act" ILLINOIS (720 ILCS 550/4) (from Ch. 56 1/2, par. 704)
Sec. 4. It is unlawful for any person knowingly to possess cannabis. Any person who violates this section with respect to: a) not more than 2.5 grams of any substance containing cannabis is guilty of a Class C misdemeanor;
The law in Illinois says that a person charged with a Class C misdemeanor is subject to a maximum 30 days imprisonment and fine of $1,500. I have NO criminal record and I resent the implication in the false positive for THC at Midwest Center for Sleep Medicine.
Checking on the internet, it appears that a false positive THC finding is not that uncommon, and there are many possible explanations for how such a mix-up could occur, none of which would happen in a professional, responsive medical facility with procedures in place to ensure a secure chain of custody for each patients’ specimen.
Possible reasons why my specimen tested with a false positive for cannabis/marijuana-THC.
1. There was no secure chain of possession, and the specimens got mixed up. Midwest Center for Sleep Medicine records note that they have no secure chain of possession on their drug tests.
2. Someone who needed a drug-free urine sample so they took my clean specimen and substituted it for their urine with drug residue.
3. Urine tests can have false positives for "no reason", or because of foods, vitamins, or prescription medicine interactions.
4. The false positive may have been a testing anomaly that the medical profession claims so rarely happens as to be irrelevant. Well, it was not irrelevant to me, that little error has had a big impact on my life. Further, a reported False-Positive Results in 5% to 10% of Cases does not seem like an insignificant percentage, especially in view of the impact it can have on one’s life (THC was illegal in 2011); and the likelihood of underreporting of false positives due to resignation in the face of the medical communities refusal to reconsider their reports on patients. Another problem is that there are no federal guidelines setting threshold levels for positive results.
5. Sometimes the THC test itself can be faulty.
And then down the rabbit hole of paranoia, but sometimes fact is stranger than fiction.
6. A technician blew his or her own marijuana breath over my sample while working with it, either carelessly, or intentionally after whatever that fracas it was that started when I was asleep at Midwest Center for Sleep Medicine so I still do not know what happened then?
7. My brother Peter's friends at Alcoholics Anonymous who "hate" me (if my brother brag to me is true) happen to work at Midwest Center for Sleep Medicine and put marijuana in my sample, so they could share an evil joy at harming me with him?
8. Or, one of my numerous biological relatives whom I do not know and whom I have mostly never met but who all know and have intense feelings about me, happen to work at Midwest Center for Sleep Medicine, and since they do drugs, some even deal drugs, they had easy access marijuana to dope my sample, so they did so to feel powerful over me?
I have been very angry and upset about this false positive cannabis/marijuana-THC on my medical record, but since 2007 I have been the sole caregiver to my elderly parents and in the past decade since I simply did not have time to protect myself in these matters. Mother passed 10-07-13, and father went into a nursing home after a massive stroke and subsequently lost his leg that same year. I am only just now able to consider the issue of this false positive cannabis/marijuana-THC on my medical records. There still appears to be nothing that I can do about it which is still quite frustrating
I have never smoked marijuana and ever since my early twenties when I learned the risk of a contact high I have never associated with anyone that uses it. I know with absolutely certainty there was no THC in my system the night of my sleepover at the Midwest Center for Sleep Medicine, not before that night, and not after that night. Never.
I have been told my medical records are “legal documents’ and cannot be changed. Why should some lab technician’s error go on my medical record forever? The answer is, it should not. And especially if my medical records are legal documents, they should be correct. As it is, these record accuses me of illegal activity, which defames me.
Midwest Center for Sleep Medicine's error has damaged the good reputation of someone who is honest and law-abiding, this false positive Cannabis-marijuana-THC is libel against me. I have been traduced. I resent this. I find it very hard to accept this injustice. It gives me a bad name. It stigmatizes me in the eyes of every subsequent medical professional who reads my medical record. It discredits what I say. It may imply to those who are responsible for my medical care that I deserve whatever happens to me for using drugs. It discredits everything, every symptom I might report. When I state I do not use drugs, it makes a liar out of me. Nothing could be father from the truth. I repeat, I do not use drugs, never have, never will.
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* "Cannabis, also known as marijuana among other names, is a psychoactive drug from the Cannabis plant used for medical or recreational purposes. The main psychoactive part of cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol, one of the 483 known compounds in the plant, including at least 65 other cannabinoids. Cannabis can be used by smoking, vaporizing, within food, or as an extract. Cannabis has mental and physical effects, such as creating a "high" or "stoned" feeling, a general change in perception…"
See more on en.wikipedia.org · Text under CC-BY-SA license
Caption: Falsely Accused Of Cannabis/Marijuana-THC Use
by Annmarie Throckmorton 2011
Caption: Cannabis/Marijuana-THC false positive-BroMenn Hospital Medical Report
Normal Illinois 2011