Can a doctor run a pregnancy drug test without informing you?

UPDATED: Jan 2, 2014

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Can a doctor run a pregnancy drug test without informing you?

I went to a new OB for a pregnancy confirmation visit at 5 weeks. When giving my urine, I was under the impression that it was for a pregnancy test. At no point in the visit (or ever) was I informed a drug test would be performed. A week later, I got a bill for $800 worth of drug tests that my insurance will not pay for. I called and my doctor’s office says this is “standard procedure”. I dispute this since I never signed a consent. Was this legal?

Asked on January 2, 2014 under Malpractice Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unless it's an emergency situation, a doctor may not run tests or perform procedures without first telling the patient what he or she is going to do and getting consent. The explanation can be in general terms, especially if the patient doesn't seek more information: for example, the doctor or his/her nurse could say, "We will run the standard tests done whenever a woman comes in to confirm pregnancy," and if the patient doesn't then ask, "what standard tests?", that would be typically be good enough.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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