Ohio Senate should protect patients’ rights

No person should die for want of a safe medication that doesn’t meet a hospital’s “protocol” or doesn’t comply with a pharmacist’s whim or agenda.

In September 2021 my wife, Amy, passed away with covid after Ohio pharmacists refused to fill a safe prescription that her doctor determined would be the best treatment for her condition. During the same month, Dave and Angie Plant, of Wooster, passed away after the hospital they were in refused to allow them to have prescriptions that didn’t conform to the hospital’s protocol. In the end, the hospital’s protocol didn’t keep Dave and Angie alive.

On the contrary, it may have killed them.

There is no way of knowing for sure whether the treatment prescribed by Amy’s doctor would have saved her life. There is no way of knowing for sure whether the treatment prescribed by Dave and Angie’s doctor would have saved their lives.

But they should have had the right to try.

That’s why the Ohio House of Representatives last June overwhelmingly passed HB73—the “Dave & Angie Patient and Health Provider Protection Act”—by a vote of 75-16, with bipartisan support.

The Ohio Senate must do the same.

After a long delay, the Senate Committee on Health on May 22 held a hearing on the bill and received more than 80 letters of support (my letter is here) from doctors, medical professionals and victimized families whose loved ones were denied potentially lifesaving treatments by hospitals and pharmacists.

It is so self-evident that it shouldn’t need to be stated that a person has the God-given right to make his or her own medical decisions. It is even more obvious when those decisions make the difference between life and death. Such decisions are not games to be played, points to be made and shouldn’t be subject to financial or political agendas.

After Amy’s passing I spoke with several pharmacists in Strongsville about the reason they refused to fill safe, FDA-approved prescriptions to treat patients with covid—prescriptions that were, in doctors’ judgement, the best options for their patients. Two pharmacists cited their employers’ corporate policy for their refusal to fill. One pharmacist incredibly told me that it was her decision—not her company’s policy, but her’s—to refuse to fill potentially life saving prescriptions. This pharmacist took it upon herself to be the almighty arbiter who stood between doctors and their dying patients.

This can no longer be tolerated.

If a person’s right to medical freedom—the right to make his or her own life and death health decisions—is taken away, so also are his or her fundamental rights to life and liberty.

In the interest of ethics, morality and basic human decency, Chairman Stephen Huffman (R) and other members of the Senate Health Committee should vote for medical freedom and in favor of the Dave & Angie Patient and Health Provider Protection Act.

Senate Health Committee, May 22, 2024 (go to 10:22):


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