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Oklahoma - Definition of "Practicing Medicine"

Comments in blue are added by Judie C. Snelson as commentary on the law.

Oklahoma Public Legal Research System

Sponsored by the

Oklahoma Attorney General´s Office

using CNIDR Isearch-cgi 1.20.06 (File: 59-492.html)
 

§59-492.

   A. Every person shall be regarded as practicing allopathic medicine
   within the meaning and provisions of this act, who shall append to his
   or her name the letters "M.D.", "Doctor", "Professor", "Specialist",
   "Physician" or any other title, letters or designation which represent
   that such person is a physician, or who shall for a fee or any form of
   compensation diagnose and/or treat disease, injury or deformity of
   persons in this state by any allopathic legend drugs, surgery, manual,
   or mechanical treatment unless otherwise authorized by law.

The treatment of "disease, injury or deformity" does not, by definition, include pregnancy and childbirth, since they are a natural function of a woman's body and not a disease.  A person assisting someone during a natural birth in which no disease process is involved would not be considered to practice medicine.  This would include a midwife, husband, relative or friend who assists the mother in giving birth.

Practicing medicine is defined as treatment with "allopathic" treatments, which by definition excludes holistic, natural, non-medical, non-drug, non-surgical forms of treatment.

   B. A hospital or related institution as such terms are defined in
   Section 1-701 of Title 63 of the Oklahoma Statutes, which has the
   principal purpose or function of providing hospital or medical care,
   including but not limited to any corporation, association, trust, or
   other organization organized and operated for such purpose, may employ
   one or more persons who are duly licensed to practice medicine in this
   state without being regarded as itself practicing medicine within the
   meaning and provisions of this section. The employment by the hospital
   or related institution of any person who is duly licensed to practice
   medicine in this state shall not, in and of itself, be considered as
   an act of unprofessional conduct by the person so employed. Nothing
   provided herein shall eliminate, limit, or restrict the liability for
   any act or failure to act of any hospital, any hospital's employees,
   or persons duly licensed to practice medicine.

   C. The definition of the practice of medicine and surgery shall
   include, but is not limited to:

   1. Advertising, holding out to the public, or representing in any
   manner that one is authorized to practice medicine and surgery in this
   state;

   2. Any offer or attempt to prescribe, order, give, or administer any
   drug or medicine and surgery for the use of any other person, except
   as otherwise authorized by law;

   3. a. Any offer or attempt, except as otherwise authorized by law, to
   prevent, diagnose, correct, or treat in any manner or by any means,
   methods, devises, or instrumentalities except for manual manipulation
   any disease, illness, pain, wound, fracture, infirmity, defect, or
   abnormal physical or mental condition of any person, including the
   management of pregnancy and parturition, except as otherwise
   authorized by law.

Since previously in this statute it has been established that treatment with non-allopathic treatments does not fall under the definition of "practicing medicine", and that pregnancy and birth are natural functions of a woman's body and not a "disease, injury or deformity", any education or advice pertaining to natural, non-medical methods of preventing illness or dealing with pregnancy or birth-related conditions should not be considered the practice of medicine.

   b. Except as provided in subsection D of this section, performance by
   a person outside of this state, through an ongoing regular
   arrangement, of diagnostic or treatment services through electronic
   communications for any patient whose condition is being diagnosed or
   treated within this state. A person who performs any of the functions
   covered by this subparagraph submits himself or herself to the
   jurisdiction of the courts of this state for the purposes of any cause
   of action resulting from the functions performed.

   c. Nothing in the Oklahoma Allopathic Medical and Surgical Licensure
   and Supervision Act shall be construed to affect or give jurisdiction
   to the Board over any person other than medical doctors or persons
   holding themselves out as medical doctors;

   4. Any offer or attempt to perform any surgical operation upon any
   person, except as otherwise authorized by law; and

   5. The use of the title Doctor of Medicine, Physician, Surgeon,
   Physician and Surgeon, Dr., M.D. or any combination thereof in the
   conduct of any occupation or profession pertaining to the prevention,
   diagnosis, or treatment of human disease or condition unless, where
   appropriate, such a designation additionally contains the description
   of another branch of the healing arts for which one holds a valid
   license in this state.

   D. The practice of medicine and surgery, as defined in this section,
   shall not include:

   1. A student while engaged in training in a medical school approved by
   the Board or while engaged in graduate medical training under the
   supervision of the medical staff of a hospital or other health care
   facility approved by the state medical board for such training, except
   that a student engaged in graduate medical training shall hold a
   license issued by the Board for such training;

   2. Any person who provides medical treatment in cases of emergency
   where no fee or other consideration is contemplated, charged or
   received;

   3. A commissioned medical officer of the armed forces of the United
   States or medical officer of the United States Public Health Service
   of the Veterans Administration of the United States in the discharge
   of official duties and/or within federally controlled facilities; and
   provided that such person shall be fully licensed to practice medicine
   and surgery in one or more jurisdictions of the United States;
   provided further that such person who holds a medical license in this
   state shall be subject to the provisions of the Oklahoma Allopathic
   Medical and Surgical Licensure and Supervision Act;

   4. Any person licensed under any other act when properly practicing in
   the healing art for which that person is duly licensed;

This would mean that licensed massage therapists, certified aromatherapists, certified or licensed naturopathic physicians, and other natural practitioners of the healing arts are not considered to be practicing medicine.

   5. The practice of those who endeavor to prevent or cure disease or
   suffering by spiritual means or prayer;

This would include a broad range of individuals, including ministers of organized churches who might pray for and lay hands on individuals, psychics and those who practice mediumship who might through communication with spiritual entities obtain information relevant to the health and healing of an individual, and those who believe that, by creating our own reality we can heal ourselves, or any other belief system rooted in a spiritual belief that our thoughts, feelings, and spiritual beliefs effect our health and happiness.

   6. Any person administering a domestic or family remedy to a member of
   such person's own family;

This would include parents administering natural remedies to their children or other family members, or a husband, spouse or family member administering a natural remedy to a woman during pregnancy and childbirth.  This would not be considered practicing medicine.

   7. Any person licensed to practice medicine and surgery in another
   state or territory of the United States who renders emergency medical
   treatment or briefly provides critical medical service at the specific
   lawful direction of a medical institution or federal agency that
   assumes full responsibility for that treatment or service and is
   approved by the Board;

   8. Any person who is licensed to practice medicine and surgery in
   another state or territory of the United States whose sole purpose and
   activity is limited to brief actual consultation with a specific
   physician who is licensed to practice medicine and surgery by the
   Board, other than a person with a special or restricted license; or

   9. The practice of any other person as licensed by appropriate
   agencies of this state, provided that such duties are consistent with
   the accepted standards of the person's profession and the person does
   not represent himself or herself as a Doctor of Medicine, Physician,
   Surgeon, Physician and Surgeon, Dr., M.D., or any combination thereof.

   E. Nothing in the Oklahoma Allopathic Medical and Surgical Licensure
   and Supervision Act shall prohibit:

   1. The service rendered by a physician's unlicensed trained assistant,
   if such service is rendered under the supervision and control of a
   licensed physician pursuant to Board rules, provided such rules are
   not in conflict with the provisions of any other healing arts
   licensure act or rules promulgated pursuant to such act; or

   2. The service of any other person duly licensed or certified by the
   state to practice the healing arts.

   F. Nothing in the Oklahoma Allopathic Medical and Surgical Licensure
   and Supervision Act shall prohibit services rendered by any person not
   licensed by the Board and practicing any nonallopathic healing
   practice.

Nonallopathic healing practices could include the use of nutrition, herbs, aromatherapy, massage, Reiki, color therapy, water therapy, reflexology, psychic healing, or any spiritually-rooted therapy or treatment.  These practices cannot be prohibited by the medical statutes.

What does this mean?  That a woman in Oklahoma can have her baby wherever she wants, with any kind of birth attendant she wants, or with no attendant other than family and friends, that she is within her rights to do so, and that she can use non-allopathic healing methods to treat any disease, injury or deformity that does occur, or consult those skilled in these healing arts without fear of retribution on herself, her family members who render aid, or those non-allopathic healers who assist her.
 

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It should be added that these statutes only apply in the state of Oklahoma.  Check you state definition
of practicing medicine.  At a later time, we hope to supply these definitions for all states.