Putnam man drops suit over smoking pot in pain management center

By Chris Dickerson | Sep 22, 2008

WINFIELD – A Putnam County man has dropped his lawsuit against a doctor and health center after he says they refused to give him pain medication and dismissed him as a patient after finding marijuana in his system.

Ronald Sprouse claimed in a Sept. 3 lawsuit in Putnam Circuit Court that Family Care Health Center, office manager Janice Amburgey and Dr. Larry Beker dismissed him as a patient after they said he failed to meet requirements in a pain management agreement.

On Sept. 15, he dropped the case.

Sprouse and the defendants "were able to come to an equitable resolution in the case through conflict resolution," according to a note from Sprouse in the case file.

According to the original complaint, Sprouse tested positive for cannabinoid on June 13 and was then dismissed. He admits in the complaint he does smoke marijuana to treat symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

"In addition the Plaintiff asserts that many medications have been used in the past to attempt to treat his disorder without success," the suit states. "Only the use of marijuana has proven effective to control the Plaintiff's disorder."

When he does not smoke marijuana, Sprouse claimed he becomes violent toward his family and does not leave his house in fear of how he will react toward others in society.

"Unless properly medicated the Plaintiff cannot sleep, has night sweats, and bouts of deep depression," the suit states.

In the pain management agreement Sprouse signed, a line states, "Unannounced urine or serum toxicology screens may be requested, and your cooperation is required. Presence of unauthorized substances (legal or illegal) will result in discharge from the practice."

Sprouse, who was representing himself, contended the clause was invalid because Family Care neglected to tell him or provide a list of what it considers unauthorized substances. Sprouse also claimed he did not violate the agreement out of malfeasance, but because of medical necessity.

Sprouse was seeking a judgment against Family Care Health Center that would allow him to continue treatment at the center and that would prevent the center from placing any negative comments or documents in Sprouse's medical file that would inhibit other health care professionals from prescribing him medication.

Putnam County Circuit Court case number: 08-C-294

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