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Registered: 07/06/10
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UK: Chronically-ill hospital patient's cannabis protest
    #484744 - 10/03/10 07:09 PM (7 years, 7 months ago)

Mo Fifield

Dorset Echo

Sunday 03 Oct 2010

A CHRONICALLY-ILL patient has been cautioned by police after openly smoking cannabis in a hospital accident and emergency department.

Mo Fifield of Sturminster Newton, who suffers from a debilitating bowel condition, says she lit up a joint in Yeovil District Hospital in protest at not being given effective pain relief.

Wheelchair-bound Ms Fifield, 47, smokes cannabis to relieve chronic pain caused by interstitial cystitis, a rare condition that has caused much of her bowel and bladder to disintegrate.

The former nurse, who was diagnosed with the condition in 1993, says she was denied pain relieving medication when she was admitted to hospital on Sunday, August 1, after overdosing on a prescribed opiate-based painkiller called oxycodone hydrochloride at her home.

She said: "Because I was in so much pain I took a massive overdose. I was taken to hospital in an ambulance. I lit up in the plaster room of the A&E department because I was not getting pain relief even though I had been there for hours. It was partly a protest, but mainly it was because I was in massive pain."

Police were called and Ms Fifield was given a cannabis warning, used by police in situations where a drug user has been caught with a small amount of a controlled substance but there is no evidence to suggest a more serious offence, such as cultivation or possession with intent to supply.

The mother-of-four was discharged but readmitted the following day. As she left, she says her bag was searched by police, who discovered and confiscated a quantity of cannabis.

Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said it could not comment on the health requirements of individual patients, but acknowledged the incident.

A spokesman said: "Police were called and some cannabis was taken away by them."

A police spokesman said: "An adult female was dealt with and given a cannabis order. This is a quick and effective way to deal with a minor drug offence. It is not a criminal charge."

Having self-medicated cannabis for more than 15 years, Ms Fifield says she is resentful that she has to risk incriminating herself to relieve her symptoms.

She said: "I don't smoke pot to get high, I smoke a small amount to stop the muscle spasms. I have kept using it for the simple fact that it works. It also stimulates my appetite, which is vital for me because my condition means I have to eat through a tube and my weight has dropped as low as four stone.

"There is a legal cannabis-based medication called Sativex, but NHS Dorset won't prescribe it."

NHS Dorset said the drug was not cost effective at £125 per bottle, or £11 per day.

Ms Fifield says she wants to fight for patients with chronic pain to be allowed to smoke cannabis legally or to be prescribed Sativex.

She is also determined to raise awareness of interstitial cystitis which she developed following complications during the birth of her second child.

She said: "I want more people to know about it and to understand the symptoms because there are women out there who suffer from it but are never diagnosed."





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