When you are injured due to the negligence of your doctor, you may have a valid basis for a medical malpractice case. However, what do you do, if the doctor is refusing to release your medical records? You have the right to take copies of your medical records from any doctor, you have been consulting in the state of New York. In order to get the records, you have to write the doctor a permission slip, which simply asks for the copy of the records.
In all likelihood, the doctor will give you the records you have requested, on paying a small fee for copying expenses. However, there are some doctors, who choose not to turn over the records, or not to turn them over in a timely fashion, for various reasons. Hence, what can you, or your attorneys do, in such instances?
Why Doctors are Often Unwilling to Provide Copies of the Medical Records?
Many attorneys, who are fighting medical malpractice cases, encounter such situations quite often. The problem is, when the doctors receive a request for these records, they automatically presume that they are being sued or they are going to face a medical malpractice lawsuit in the near future. In reality, the attorney will actually be in the initial investigation phase, where he will be trying to determine who did what and why.
The attorney on behalf of his injured client is entitled to get copies of the medical records. The client will give a permission slip to the attorney, which says that he is authorizing his attorney to get copies of his medical records. The attorney will send this request on behalf his client, to the doctor’s office.
What is the Solution?
In many instances, despite calling the doctor’s office many times, and sending additional letters, there is no response, and the doctor simply refuses to turn over the records. The doctor’s office might give various excuses, saying the doctor is reviewing the records or it is on the doctor’s desk, and so on. This could go on for weeks, and sometimes even months.
When this happens, the attorney can send a letter to the New York State Department of Health, and a copy of that letter to the doctor. The letter will state that the patient has the right to get copies of his medical records, and everything required has been done to get the records, such as sending the permission slip and number of reminders. Even after all that the doctor has refused to comply and he has not provided the record copies.
At this point, the New York State Department of Health will usually intervene. However, before that they will make sure the attorney has sent the proper permission slip, power of attorney, and the cover letter that agrees to pay for the copying charges. Once the department confirms this, they will go ahead and intervene, and ask the doctor why he has not complied with the request. Acquiring the medical records is an important phase in the evaluation of a medical malpractice case, and the attorney will have to call the health department, when the doctor fails to turn over the records.