Dr. Peter Bourne's statement:
I am a physician licensed to practice in the District of Columbia, California, Colorado and Georgia.
On Friday, July 7, I wrote a prescription for one of my employes who came to me concerned about emotional problems which resulted in the patient's having difficulty sleeping . I had advised her before and was totally familiar with her problem. She and I were concerned about the protection of her confidentiality both with regard to her taking medication and to the creation of a record anywhere that she had been treated by a psychiatrist.
I prescribed methaqualone, a drug specifically indicated in the appropriate medical reference for use in such cases, a drug for which more than 1.3 million prescriptions were written last year. I prescribed 15 tablets with specific instructions that they were to be taken at bedtime for sleep, as needed. I have prescribed no other controlled substance for her.
I have consulted legal counsel and I believe that what I have done was neither legally nor morally wrong. I wrote a real prescription to and for use by a real person with a real medical problem. The prescription was written for a resident of the District of Columbia, where I am licensed to practice.
My name and physician's registration number appeared on the prescription. I am legally and professionally entitled to prescribe medications for those who, in my medical judgement, would thereby benefit.
I took what I believed to be legitimate precautions to protect the confidentiality of the individual involved. The use of a pseudonym on a prescription is one way of protecting confidentiality.
Section 9 of the Principles of Medical Ethios prevents a doctor from revealing the confidences entrusted to him "in the course of medical attendance". The ethical requirements of the American Psychiatric Association further require that "even the identification of a patient must be protected with extreme care".
This consciousness that patient confidentiality is of paramount importance is also evidenced in many other sensitive areas of medical practice.
One matter which is very troubling to me is the status of Miss Long. I understand that no one believes that she did anything wrong. She merely took a prescriptiion to the drug store for a friend.
Neither she nor the patient did anything wrong. The patient had a problem, sought medical help, got it and, because of the position of the doctor whom she consulted, now finds her identity publicy sought.
Because of my desire to clear my name as soon as possible and my concern that these implications not interfere with the effective operations of the White House, I have asked to be placed on a leave of absence until this matter can be resolved.