Abuse of prescription drugs is reportable immediately, according to the law. Such abuse can be difficult to determine, as the abuser may seek prescriptions for the same drug from different physicians. A physician will want to see a patient before prescribing medication. A violation of controlled substances laws is a criminal offense. Prescription pads and blanks should always be kept locked up when not in use. Physicians will usually keep a pad in their pocket during working hours. Pads are never left out on exam room counters or de
All physicians and healthcare workers should be familiar with the laws relating to controlled substances. Violation of the laws can result in fines, imprisonment, and a loss of license to practice medicine.
Gathering Evidence in Cases of Abuse
Gathering evidence from abuse victims usually takes place in a hospital or emergency room setting. However, a physician may see an abused patient in the office. Precise documentation of all injuries, bruises, and suspicious fluid deposits in the genital areas of children is critical. The court may subpoena these records at a later date. The physician may also be asked to testify in court and offer observations.
Evidence in abuse cases includes the following:
· Photo of bruises and other signs of abuse
· Female child’s urine specimen (containing sperm) or laboratory report indicating the presence of sperm in the urine
· Body fluids, such as semen, vomitus, or gastric contents
· Various samples, such as blood, semen, and vaginal or rectal smears
· Foreign objects such as bullets, hair, and nail clippings
Evidence should be handled as little as possible, and by only one employee, to prevent damaging the evidence. All evidence in abuse cases should be clearly labeled and protected with sealed plastic bags or covers.