Limbaugh Vows to Fight Appeals Court Decision on Medical Records

By Melanie Arter | July 7, 2008 | 8:22pm EDT

( - Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh plans to "seek further appellate review" of a Florida appeals court decision Wednesday, which upheld the seizure of his medical records while investigators sought information on alleged illegal drug use.

"The state's authority to seize such records by a validly issued search warrant is not affected by any right of privacy in such records," a three-judge panel of the 4th District Court of Appeal ruled. Chief Judge Gary M. Farmer wrote the opinion and Judge Carol Y. Taylor agreed.

"Quite obviously, we strongly disagree with the decision of the court majority, because the majority does not recognize a patient's right to medical privacy that the Congress of the United States, the Florida Legislature and the citizens of Florida have granted to patients such as me," Limbaugh said during his show Wednesday.

Last November, investigators raided the offices of Limbaugh's doctors in their hunt for information as to whether Limbaugh illegally tried to obtain prescription painkillers. The investigation had been put on hold until a decision has been reached on the medical records, the Associated Press reports.

"I want to remind everybody I have not been charged with anything. This was a fishing expedition from the outset to see if there was anything they could find to charge me with, and so this next stage is a continuation of the appeal process. There was no doctor shopping," Limbaugh said.

"Doctor shopping" is a practice that refers to visiting several doctors to receive duplicate prescriptions of controlled narcotics. Prosecutors sought Limbaugh's medical records after learning that he received about 2,000 painkillers, prescribed by four doctors in six months, the Associated Press reports.

"It was my contention all along that I shouldn't have to give up my right to privacy to prove my innocence. That's not the way it works in this country," said Limbaugh.

Judge Melanie G. May dissented in part from the appeals court majority, saying the case should go back to the trial court to "determine the relevancy of the records seized and to whom, if anyone, those records may be 'disclosed.'"

"We're encouraged by the strong dissent of Judge May. She clearly recognized that the state cannot trump a patient's right to privacy in medical matters and again we are going to seek further appellate review of this decision, meaning we're going to take it to the next level wherever we determine that is," Limbaugh said on the air.

In October, Limbaugh admitted on the air that he has been addicted to pain medication to treat severe back pain. He then entered a rehab program and took a five-week leave from his show.

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