About a week ago, I did my 12-hour fasting so that I could go to Quest Diagnostics for a blood test. I needed the results for my regular doctor appointment early this week. I got to the place at about 7:05, 5 minutes after it opened. Ahead of me were two other patients who had lined up appointments. The guy just before me went in to the little room for his blood test and said he didn’t care whether the nurse closed the door. So it remained open and I heard the whole conversation.

The nurse pointed out that his doctor’s order for his blood test had failed to include his name at the top of the order. For that reason, she said, she couldn’t do the test. The guy objected and said that the form was clearly for him; who else would it be for? The nurse was unmoved. The guy offered to fill in his name. The nurse said that that was unacceptable.

I don’t question the nurse’s judgement. (I quickly checked my own form, and, thank goodness, my doctor had filled in my name.) I’m virtually certain that she feared, probably correctly, that she would be breaking some law or regulation.

But think about that. This guy wanted a blood test. What was he going to do with it that some government official was afraid of? He probably had to fast the same way I did. I get up early and have real trouble holding off on coffee and breakfast while I wait until I leave for the blood test. He was dressed blue-collar style and probably had tougher time constraints than I had. So he would have to go to his doctor to get his form filled out correctly and fast yet again.

When I go to buy a hamburger, I don’t need a special form filled out. A blood test is not a drug. (I don’t think the government should stop us from getting drugs either, but that’s a longer discussion.) Even if you think the government has some interest in our not having access to certain drugs, it’s wrong for the government to stop us from getting blood tests.