LOS ANGELES – On his night shift in a busy emergency room, Dr. Jacob Khushigian inevitably finds a few patients more likely to be hunting for drugs than medical attention.
The guy who claims he has severe abdominal pain doesn't grimace when sitting up. A woman who recently moved to the area fails to disclose she sees a doctor elsewhere. An ambulance patient complaining of a sore leg and back doesn't reveal she was turned away by another hospital.
There was a time Khushigian's hunches took weeks to confirm and required phoning or faxing the attorney general's office to obtain a patient's prescription drug information. Nowadays, a computer helps him catch cheaters. But it can only reach so far.
While a state online drug database went into effect last year to thwart addicts who bounce from doctor to doctor to feed a habit or make a small fortune peddling meds, there's now a push to extend it beyond state lines to snare so-called doctor shoppers and curb drug abuse.
So what do you think? Is this okay? Where does the common good meet patient's rights?