May 08, 2016

Jessie's Law: Bipartisan measure welcomed | Bluefield Daily Telegraph

Legislation introduced by Sen. Joe Manchin and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito seeks to help ensure medical professionals have full knowledge of a patient’s previous opioid addiction when consent is given.

The necessary measure, titled “Jessie’s Law,” is named for Jessie Grubb, who battled addiction for seven years. After becoming sober, she focused on making a life for herself in Michigan. But as she was training for a marathon, she suffered a running-related injury which required surgery. Her parents, David and Kate Grubb, traveled to Michigan for her surgery and told doctors and hospital personnel she was a recovering addict.

But after her surgery, the discharging doctor sent Jessie home with a prescription for 50 oxycodone pills. She died the following day.

Manchin and Capito, say they hope the bipartisan legislation will help enable physicians to consider the patient’s addiction when determining appropriate medical care.

“(Jessie’s) death was 100 percent preventable and she should still be with us today,” Manchin said. “But with grief comes hope. As we grieve for Jessie and her family, let us pray that we can use this tragedy to help save others... Let us pass Jessie’s Law so her legacy stands long after us.”

If the bill is passed, within one year, the Secretary of Health and Human Services must develop and disseminate standards to provide information to hospitals and physicians relating to prominently displaying the history of opioid addiction in the medical records of patients in a similar manner to “other potentially lethal medical concerns,” if the patients have consented to having such information included.

Manchin and Capito said they hope to see the bill enacted by the end of the year.

So are we. The legislation is another necessary tool that can be utilized in the ongoing struggle against the deadly epidemic of prescription drug-abuse.