A Pennsylvania doctor cannot fight a "medical gag rule" that he says forces physicians to keep the public ignorant of the health dangers of hydrofracking, a federal judge ruled.
In a July 2012 complaint, nephrologist Alfonso Rodriguez had taken aim at Act 13 of 2012, an amendment of the Oil and Gas Act signed on Feb. 14.
Rodriguez, who specializes in renal diseases, hypertension and advanced diabetes in Dallas, Pa., said the law prevents doctors from telling patients or the public about the health dangers of hydraulic fracturing. More commonly known as "fracking," the practice involves using toxic fluids to release natural gas by power-drilling through underground shale rock.
The nephrologist "has recently treated patients directly exposed to high-volume hydraulic fracturing fluid as the result of well blowouts," including one "with a complicated diagnosis with low platelets, anemia, rash and acute renal failure that required extensive hemodialysis and exposure to chemotherapeutic agents," according to the complaint.