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)
A. Every person shall be regarded as practicing
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
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
include, but is not limited to:
1. Advertising, holding out to the public, or
manner that one is authorized to practice medicine and surgery in this
2. Any offer or attempt to prescribe, order, give, or
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
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,
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
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
person, except as otherwise authorized by law; and
5. The use of the title Doctor of Medicine, Physician,
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
shall not include:
1. A student while engaged in training in a medical
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
where no fee or other consideration is contemplated, charged or
3. A commissioned medical officer of the armed forces
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
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
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
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
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
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
and Supervision Act shall prohibit:
1. The service rendered by a physician's unlicensed
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
state to practice the healing arts.
F. Nothing in the Oklahoma Allopathic Medical and
and Supervision Act shall prohibit services rendered by any person not
licensed by the Board and practicing any nonallopathic healing
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?
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
friends, that she is within her rights to do so, and that she can use
healing methods to treat any disease, injury or deformity that does
or consult those skilled in these healing arts without fear of
on herself, her family members who render aid, or those non-allopathic
healers who assist her.
Back to The Online Childbirth Class
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It should be added that these
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.