Tuesday, February 3, 2009

They LOST My Medical Records!!!

http://www.isausa.com/img/medical-records.jpg

I wrote most of this yesterday (Monday) and am leaving it with emotions and all. I did delete some of it though. I hope that anyone reading this who works in the medical field will take this distressed patient's post to heart... and please make sure you and your staff/coworkers ARE careful with your patient's information. I know mistakes happen. It could happen with anyone. It just sucks when it is you! And please...if you have any suggestions to help or opinions to share...they will be most appreciated by this patient. Thank you. :)


*** I put a link at the bottom of my post to an excellent site about all kinds of identity fraud and the videos are good. I highly recommend that you watch them..they are short. The average person is unaware of these things. I think it would be a good idea for employers to review with there staff just how serious an issue this is and what can happen as a result of carelessness.

I am MAD!

PISSED!
UPSET!
PERPLEXED!
FRUSTRATED!

UNNERVED!
SUSPICIOUS!
CONCERNED!
ALARMED!

WORRIED!

VULNERABLE!

EXPOSED!

Slightly amused. Because...WHAT are the odds???

Damn it to heck! I am frickin UPSET!

Upset..covers it ALL I guess.

Believe me...my words DO NOT convey the depth of "UPSET" I am feeling!!

I KNOW mistakes happen... but when it is you they make the mistake with it SUCKS! BIG TIME!

So what am I talking about?

Suffice it to know...I am very particular about confidentiality. If you tell me not to tell someone that their pants are on fire..I won't!

I abhor when confidentiality is broken.

As an employee... I was careful and guarded about patient confidentiality.

If you met me...you might think oh she's so chatty...she will talk about anything. No. I don't. I always respect privacy.

Maybe I was overly sensitive about my privacy... but this demonstrates just how private I am.

I had only been working at the hospital a couple of years. I wanted to have some skin tags removed. No big deal. I had handled hundreds of them by that time because all the labs were dropped off for us to process at the end of the day..after office hours. (This was prior to OSHA standards being implemented. After that specimens were practically gift wrapped!)

I was careful to choose a surgeon I worked around who I knew was particular, demanding and expected everyone to tow the line and he was not one of the doctors that I heard openly discuss his patients, not caring who was within earshot. When I saw that happen...that mortified me as a prospective patient and is ultimately why I chose my doctors outside the hospital system I worked for. I soon realized that patients were discussed by all medical staff at dinner, in various departments, things that as a patient... I would not want to be discussed.

It is difficult enough to be a patient and the patient should at least be able to trust that their dignity and right to privacy is being respected...I don't care who the patient is. It did become better with HIPAA being enacted.

But I never...in all my years working at the hospital ..ever heard that particular surgeon discuss one patient in a way that wasn't appropriate. So I chose him to laser the skin tags. And I know this is ridiculous and I did get over it... but I was so shy about my skin tags being handled/examined by my coworkers in lab that I requested he send them out and he did.

Now I wouldn't do that and I did go on to have some other things done there.

But.. I am not kidding when I say I am particular about privacy. A patient's chart is a legal document that has personal information. No one...other than the people you entrust that information to should ever be privy to it for any reason.

So what the heck has me reeling?

I am going to see my PMD today and so I called the office staff of the doctor who passed away in December. I knew they would send me my files when they got to it and so I wasn't rushing them, but I wanted them to send copies of my most recent labs to my PMD so he would have them when I came in later.

She had me hold for a bit and then came back and informed me that they did not have my records...that they were LOST!!!!!

My thoughts went into breaking the sound barrier speed and I couldn't even make a sentence because so many thoughts were flying through my brain. All I could get out was "Lost?" and she went on to say that... now get this... I am the ONLY patient who has a missing medical record.

It gets better... I am the ONLY patient... of ALL his patients for which he has medical records going back approximatelyTHIRTY YEARS who's MEDICAL RECORDS ARE MISSING!!!

What are the odds of that? If she was telling me the truth...I am the only one. The ONLY patient who has her personal information SOMEWHERE it doesn't belong!

I am LIVID!

I was polite (because I was SPEECHLESS!), no... because I know it was a mistake.

She told me they didn't have my last visit. Or the lab results from the visit before. She will contact the place I had them drawn in and fax them over. She said they have something from 2008.

But I started with him in 2004. She said I hadn't been there that much as if there wouldn't be much to locate anyway... but I have been thinking about this nonstop and he had my file in his arms and it is pretty thick because I have had a lot of things going on. He saw me as an inpatient twice and he did have a good size folder on me. That means there are a lot of papers missing!!!

I never finished writing my post about him, but this doctor was the only doctor to diagnose the autoimmune disorder and I had seen other doctors, including an autoimmune doctor. He saved me from having to have a gallbladder procedure/surgery because he knew it was caused by the urology procedure, etc. There is a lot of important information in my records. Aside from my new urologist group that took my case on in January 06...he was the PMD that also followed my progress. I could go on. The records have a lot of valuable information.

Or am I wrong? Is this not a big deal? Will some other doctor just pick up where he left off? Does it not matter if we don't know all the details?

I thought if you have the FACTS you can better ascertain what treatments may or may not be appropriate. This doctor was thorough and laid a good foundation.

Okay...the most serious thing has been the urology issues. I am in good hands with that group and they have all that information. I also am a good historian with my medical history.

But I would think the physician's notes, etc... are important! HE...wanted to know every little bit of minutia because he put all the info together so that if something did go wrong... he could say..this is happening..because that happened, etc. That is what the receptionist told me in the beginning.

And even worse then losing my pertinent medical information is that now MY PERSONAL INFORMATION IS WHERE IT SHOULD NOT BE!

She said she checked with the transcriptionist and in the office. (Where is the transcription done? in office or another location?) I asked if they checked with his family... maybe in his home office? She said they checked. I saw him on December 22nd and it was the last day he worked. I am thinking he must've had it with him. ? Then again why take a patient's chart out of the office on a Christmas break? It is just odd...because that chart should be the most recent he handled and so you would think staff would have it at their finger tips. ???

Did the cleaning person abscond with it? Left in the car? Fall out onto a sidewalk? Misfiled?

She said it was probably misfiled. Well no doubt they were pulling records like crazy.

When I spoke with them in the beginning of January she said I was 80 on the list for getting copies. She said they would do the first 2 years first and then later do the rest. No problem.

But now... I am wondering...does some other patient have MY PERSONAL INFORMATION???

And by that I mean... my husband's social security number, my social security number, home address and phone numbers, employers, medical conditions, treatments, meds and whatever else might be in there.

http://www.identitytheftprotect.us/identity-theft-piechart.gif

And btw...insurance card fraud occurs to and can totally obliterate your coverage if someone gets their hands on your insurance card?

Here is a link to a post written by ED Dr WhiteCoat in which he discusses the rise in medical fraud and has a link to an important article to read. The comments are interesting and now I guess I really should follow through with my own advice in the comment section. :(

Should I be calling my insurance company to alert them and get a new ID number?

Do I need to do something about social security alerts? I have always been squirrelly about giving out ss#'s since I learned how your life can be DESTROYED with ss# fraud!

I feel so violated, vulnerable and upset!

I said well maybe they were accidentally shredded. She said no they don't shred things. Then she said well we do but not medical records. I would've been happier to hear they were shredded!

I know at the hospital and the VNA...if there was personal patient info to be discarded it had to be shredded or there were special bins to throw it away in. I think immediate shredding is best.

If I received another patient's medical information in mine... I would immediately bring it back to the office. I don't know what I expected her to say... but what she said wasn't good enough and I did not get an apology! (They are a nice staff though)

And so she said they might be there another month and then they are done. The practice is still up for sale. They are just getting the loose ends tied up, patient's records and seeing that they follow through with another doctor. Sadly... she said some patients are still refusing to believe it. I do feel for them. He had patients from the beginning of his practice. Those pts must feel horrible and lost!

She said if they don't call me...to call them in 2 weeks. OH I will! I may go in person! And I am not the screaming, irate patient type...but dang...I am so disturbed about this.

I do wonder...would any of you be upset about this?

Does anyone have any knowledge as to what I should do about this?

Am I overly concerned about insurance and social security fraud or safety with my personal info out there?

I am concerned about identity theft!

What would you do?

I have to tell you...this is one of those things that will bother me for the rest of my life every time I think about it and I will wonder who got my info?

And also...and I HOPE I am wrong about this...is there any reason a doctor's office would intentionally NOT be forthcoming with a patient's records? Could there be things they don't want me to see? I can't imagine what... but would/could that happen. That would be so illegal though.

I was one of his last patients. I saw him on 12/22. I saw him holding my folder. As I said...it was a good size.

I am thinking that since they had one thing from 2008...it must have been the staff who mixed up my med recs with another patient's records.

So... then that patient...or...worse..those patients may have info about me that I haven't even read! And would you or anyone want your private diagnoses, meds, docs evaluations/comments, insurance, and personal identity information for you and your SPOUSE just out there ...SOMEWHERE?

At home... I shred anything that has our bank info, ss#s,insurance info...anything like that...BEFORE it goes out in the trash. Will some stranger be as careful?

Also...I do not know the procedure for selling a practice in this circumstance. What happens to all the files/med recs? Are they locked away for the future doctor?

Do I have any recourse in this?

By that I mean...they will be closing up shop soon and then I will never know anything about this again unless a problem occurs because of this.

It just is not fair! I know...life isn't fair. But this is important to me and there should be someway of finding those records.

So...I am wondering... if they don't get rid of the records... does that mean..they probably have my records somewhere in all those records?

If they do...I WANT THEM FOUND! Also...if they find them...then that should tell them who potentially has them and those people should be contacted. I know with HIPAA Iwould never be allowed to know WHO erroneously got my records, but I would want it documented so that if we ever experience any kind of identity theft or any other kind of privacy violation... there is someone on record to check up on. I have a feeling that is a lot to ask. But I think I have a right to this.

And do they give some patients all their records and that is it and even the office doesn't have records anymore? If that could happen then I am potentially SCREWED from ever finding them. But...since they are making copies...i think they must keep all original records. That makes sense because what if they had to look them up for some other reason...although..who does that?

WHAT would any of you do? Please...any ideas... I welcome your comments.

Is there something any of us may be missing?

Is there something I can do to ensure protecting myself?

And here is the thing. I LIKE the staff. I don't know them well at all but they have always been sweet and helpful.

I know they must be grieving, stressed, feeling lost and displaces and perhaps with out a job soon.

I really do not want to add to their burdens in any way. I do not.

But ...this is so important to me.

I did not get the sense that the nurse I spoke with was appreciating how serous this was to me with her suggesting that since I wasn't there much there wouldn't be much anyway. WRONG!

*As patients...we go to a physician's office and we tell them things that we sometimes don't even tell our families or friends. We expect that our information will be safe at the doctor's office.

I am an open, easy going friendly person... but when it comes to my medical things...I have always been particular about where I go, who I see, what I say...and TRUST is important to me.

When you think of it...all of us exercise trust all the time ...that people will guard our private info... but really...it seems more like Russian roulette or a crap shoot. I just can't believe that out of approximately 30 years of patients...MY records are the ones that are lost...and no one else's!

It's like winning the lottery. It should be so wonderful!

I have joked that I was an old fashioned girl who with all this EMR stuff was not comfortable with a totally paperless office.

After this experience...I say bring em on. Of course as long as you have the human component...errors can occur.

Am I overreacting? I want to put this in the right perspective.

Right now...I feel like I have been robbed. I feel vulnerable. I feel exposed.

I went to the PMD yesterday and after thinking about this all day yesterday... my BP was 180/108. That is oh...just a "tad" high and not my norm. And as I was driving home after seeing mom... I felt like my chest was tightening up and kept pulling my bra away from me thinking it was too tight. But I was stressed and thinking about it and I caught my self only shallow breathing.

Am I overreacting? I want to put this in the right perspective.

Right now...I feel like I have been robbed. I feel vulnerable. I feel exposed.

*Last but NOT least...If anyone feels so inclined...please say a prayer that the records will be found and that we will not be at risk for any identity theft.

* I know some of this was repetitive... but I am venting.of this.

I found this excellent site about all kinds of identity theft. All the videos are good and I think should be watched by everyone so they understand just how serious this is... and how it can wreck lives. Employers are at risk for being sued (NO..that is NOT where I am going with this. I just want my records found and assurance that my personal information, health and financial future has not been compromised in any way because of this...tall order..I know) and not just because of HIPAA laws. There are other laws.. state and federal.

I just want to add that having worked in ED registration for 20 years, I can attest to the fact that some patients get irritated when you ask them for ID and insurance cards to copy. And at the hospital...we had to get those cards at EVERY visit to make sure everything is current and still active. Also..now they can verify on line. It is for both the protection of the patient and the provider. And I would think that in this increasingly difficult financial climate, that providers should be even more vigilant to guard against medical identity theft!

I sincerely hope this helps other people who read this post.

I just want peace of mind about this...wouldn't you?

http://www.kj3rd.com/images/5_Common_Types_of_Identity_Theft_-_ADRS.gif

32 comments:

medrecgal said...

Wow...that's just mind boggling! As someone who knows just exactly the disastrous consequences that can happen when medical records get into the wrong hands, this whole post was truly frightening! Pardon my asking this, but how the H*** could they lose an entire medical record like that? (A computer file I could see, but this sounds like you had an actual paper record over many years in one location...which seems a bit crazy to this medical records person.)

For the sake of your peace of mind, I hope this gets resolved quickly and appropriately! What a disgrace!

SnowLite said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SeaSpray said...

Thank you Medrecgal -It was an EGREGIOUS mistake.Your validation means a lot to me because even though I am upset about this and angry...I am also 2nd guessing my reaction. But it should not have happened!

4.50 years of charting was in my records. The doctor died and I am not clear on exactly what happened... but either the doctor put them somewhere since I was one of his last patients... but more likely...i think either the transcriptionist or staff mixed my files in with someone else's. i didn't understand why they had a few papers but don't have the entire file. And what about the folder? do they have that? if they have that...then they lost the papers. I am going to question them more (working up the courage), will be polite but assertive in letting them know just how SERIOUS this is.

It would be a mistake to blow me off if they try. They are nice. i am nice. But I had the distinct feeling she did not want to discuss it with me. That won't fly with me..it just will not.

Thank you for your well wishes.

Btw...since you work with files all the time...do you have any ideas about how lost or where to look?

And isn't it ODD?

Ellen Kimball said...

Oh, SeaSpray, I feel so badly for you. What a hassle! When we moved from Boston to Portland, I had all the doctors give my the files and I put them in my important papers (deeds, banking information, etc.). It all flew with me on board the plane on April 4, 1998. But these were copies of handwritten notes (pretty unreadable, actually), and nothing awfully significant. Yes, they do have SS numbers, that is true.

I don't know if you have any recourse. You might try discussing this with a medical malpractice lawyer, but unless you can prove any harm, I think you should just try to stay calm and assume the notes have been legitimately lost or misfiled.

Remember, 99% of the things we fear will happen -- don't happen. But I'm exactly like you and I once had a purse stolen off the front seat of my car. I don't do that anymore. The thief threw a brick through the passenger window in broad daylight on a busy street while I was making a sales call to a beauty salon. I can still remember the panic and outrage I felt. My husband was furious, but despite all of the hassle of replacing cards, we did not experience any real loss.

I wish I could give you a hug.

Chrysalis Angel said...

Seaspray, I tried to comment to you last night, but couldn't. Those records have to be there somewhere. I wonder if they keep their older files in a basement of the office or some other location, and perhaps it got in with those. I understand your being so upset, any of us would be. A misfile they should be able to sort out, maybe even a file in a file..which isn't good either, but I hope they continue to work on finding it. I'm sorry this has happened to you.
I'll contact you later.

therapydoc said...

Wow you sound angry! Good stuff in this post.

Ann of the Incredible Gift said...

Seaspray, I would definitely call your insurance carrier and let them know a set of your records has gone missing. Ask them to contact you if any questionable claims show up.

No, you are not making a big deal over nothing: to have a complete folder of medical records go missing is a major event. If it was only misfiled, it will turn up as they go through all the files. If someone walked off with it - Ouch!

You are, in my opinion, completely justified in being upset and angry.

Hang in there.

Anonymous said...

My suggestion is to file a complaint with the Attorney General of your state.

W said...

Holy novella, Batman!
I bet that the records aren't lost or stolen, but are just "misplaced." Most likely filed in the wrong spot.
Although frustrating, I doubt that someone made off with your information.
Just to be "sure", though, you may want to make a fraud alert report to the credit agencies.

medrecgal said...

I don't currently work with paper records, but merely computer files in a gigantic EMR system. However, my training and your comment that this doctor died would suggest to me that these records should be somewhere in storage.

I don't know exactly who you spoke with at this office, but you need to speak to either the office manager or the person who handled the care of this doctor's records (they could be the same person, but may not be). If they try to blow you off again, take it to a higher level in the system if possible. Is this just a standalone office, or was this doc part of a "system" (e.g., was (s)he in a group practice or connected to a hospital system or something like that)? You might have greater luck contacting someone useful if this wasn't just a solo doc in their own practice.

Perhaps it was simply misfiled. This happens more often than patients realize. (One plus for the EMR...no misfiles!) Is it possible that a number got transposed or it was filed into some other record with the same name on it? Somebody over there needs to look into this thoroughly instead of just blowing you off. I know I would have had such an inquiry come through a department I was working in! Wishing you the best of luck in getting this properly sorted out...

SeaSpray said...

Thank you EVERYONE for your support, empathy & suggestions regarding this matter.I am sorry for the delay in answering the comments, but was feeling drained regarding the whole matter.

I am going to call them Monday and be polite yet assertively insistent that they find them. Shoot...if it weren't for privacy factors...i'd offer to help on my own time.

And I am going to let them know I know how serious a matter it is and I am going to share how awful this has caused me to feel. I won't say much. Just enough to say cause them to feel the gravity of the situation.

Ellen: I am so sorry that happened to you. That must've felt so awful and the thought of a stranger having personal info is creepy.

I when I used the word recourse...i meant that if they can't find the records, are closing the practice...I want to know where the records will be stored and want a contact person so that when practice is sold... new doc's staff can also look. But I don't know how things are done and I doubt new doc will want that responsibility because that is an error caused be previous doctor's staff.

So... I may be screwed if they don't find it. But I am going to be insistent.

Hug received. :)

Thanks Angel - it was upsetting to here the resignation in her voice about "if" they find them. I did not feel reassured there would be effort.

I am thinking they have to systematically go through every single one. maybe they have. Also..I wonder where the transcriptionist works? If it is out of office or in? :)

Yes I was Therapy doc. Still am bit toned down a bit. if they work with me... for me..I will handle it better... but if I get blown off...i will be livid all over again. Thank you ..I am glad you appreciated the post. :)

Thank you Ann. I will call the insurance company after I speak with them on Monday. i probably should have before this. I appreciate your validation of my feelings. :)

Thanks anonymous 9:18. :) Something to consider but that seems like a major step when I know it was a mistake. But I don't understand what the attorney general would do. I think of big crime when I think of that office. Would I be filing as a protective measure?

Holy NOVELLA W! :)

Thanks for your input and I hope you are right. I will follow through with insurance and agencies once I have a better handle on it Monday.

I stalled calling them back all week because this is all so awkward. i did call Friday but no answer.

I will let them know of all the things I am being advised to do...including attorney general. I won't say it is advice from bloggers but just that these things have been suggested. i am also going to use the egregious line Dr Rob used in his post in the section about lost medical records.

It IS so frustrating!

Medrecgal, unfortunately...it was a solo practice. I am going to ask for the office manager on Monday.

Thank you for your well wishes. :)

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Anonymous said...

Wow! I came to this site because my medical records have also been lost and I am trying to figure out what to do about it! I saw with my own eyes my very thick file at the office that is claiming they never had them!!
I am very concerned, as is my current doctor and I just don't know what to do about it!
I am very frustrated and angry. I have some major medical issues going on now and my dr needs to be able to track what has gone on with me in the last few years, now what do I do???

SeaSpray said...

Hi Anonymous 10:34. I'm sorry that I missed your comment. And I am very sorry that they lost your medical records.

You said "I saw with my own eyes my very thick file at the office that is claiming they never had them!!"

How in the world can they claim they never had them??

Can you prove you were their patient? Tests ordered at various facilities, canceled checks, EOBs (explanation of benefits that ins companies always send to the patient with claim reimbursement info on them) from your insurance co?,medical records in a hospital indicating this was your physician.

They have to have medical records.. by law there has to be documentation. Not only does there have to be documentation... but it is confidential documentation and you have every right to be upset!

Then if they don't have hard copies I would assume they are in their EMR system if they have one.

I know you saw them but it sounds like you were a long term patient or one with chronic conditions, thus a thick patient file of all encounters and treatment plans, test results, etc.

i actually did contact the doctor's estate attorney and let it drop but after recently seeing something on identity theft.. I was alarmed again. plus I want them accountable. My mother died and I just side tracked.. but as I've said thinking about it again recently and even typing this..I feel mad all over again..especially because of how the m/a treated/discounted me and never one apology.

It is very disturbing and unnerving to feel so vulnerable and exposed. And when a doctor has documented important info as you state that is awful to lose that info,

What does the doctor say?

You have every right to an explanation.

There are laws to protect patients. Confidentiality is a patient right and there are federal and state laws protecting patients when their privacy has been violated.

In my case.. The lawyer offered to pay for a identity theft plan for a year and I told him that I wanted a letter stating my records are missing from this office. he agreed but never heard from him..nor did i pursue it.

i think I can assume that my records are LOST as I have never heard otherwise.

Your comment has caused me to want to follow up on this.

I wish I had some good advice to give to you.

You have rights.

identity theft is a big deal.

And then there are other privacy issues.

It's bad enough to not get an apology, but to tell you they never had them is a bold faced lie and there should be some accountability.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do. My file was a decent size but I had only gone to him since 03 or 04 I think. (I have to go back and read my stuff)

You might want to contact an agency to help you or lawyer.

It absolutely is NOT alright to blow a patient off and deny their existence. Where DO they keep your records??

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Anonymous said...

I am a hospital transcriptionist. We don't even access our own personal records (electronic). They "misfiled" a paper record? They need to un-misfile it right now. That is unacceptable.

Here is what happened to me: Got a bill from a surgeon's office. Never saw this surgeon and never was at her office. I called her business office. They said I had been there for postoperative wound care. When I said I had not, because I had never had surgery, I was actually told, honest-to-God, "You probably just forgot you were here." So I asked her to please research and get back to me as to exactly which body part was involved. Soon after that, guess what -- they realized I was the wrong patient. By this time my insurance company had paid them. This medical network has other patients with my exact same name. What about all the rest of my ID? If they would pay their staff more, maybe they could draw more educated people to work for them.

SeaSpray said...

Thank you very much Anonymous 10:23. I let it drop because of my mother declining, dying and just went into a funk. but..I read something about a woman's health identity being stolen and so I called the estate lawyer's office last week. We had talked previously and came to an agreement about their paying for a identity theft program and also I want a letter from him stating his client's office lost my medical records in January of 2009... in case any identity theft problems come up. I was nonplussed by his secretary this time who came across rude and condescending. I will be calling them this week and will not be letting it drop!

Unfortunately ..if they could've produced my records .. I would've been notified but now. I was appalled at how the office mgr treated me.

I DO wonder and with CONCERN where my records went??? It is an awful feeling and I am MAD about it!!

I know mistakes happen but that does NOT protect me from identity theft or from a violation of my privacy.

"You probably just forgot you were here." Gee ..the person uttering THAT statement certainly isn't the brightest bulb!

It's so wrong that it's laughable! Not that it happened to you but that they were that stupid.

Did you inform your insurance company and did they recoup their money?

I'm sorry that happened to you.

Heather said...

OMG!!!!!!!!!!
Same thing happened to my children's medical records. Their pediatrician retired and someone else took over his office. So I switched to other doctor. I requested medical record transfer but they never did. So I called and they say that they don't have any records of my children. They are even wiped out of their system. They told me that their records might be in previous doctors storage so they went to storage to look for it, but they can't find it. Moreover, their previous pediatrician passed away the day before I call them. What in the hell is this situation. My children need to go to school and they don't have immunization records. You know that every school in the U.S. requires immunization records. Not only that, I don't know how to follow up with their immunization. What if something happens for not getting their shots on time. I'm very up set but I don't know what to do. Please let me know how things went with you and how you took care of it. Thanks.

SeaSpray said...

Heather - What an egregious mistake! And you are saying they lost more than 1 set of records? I am so sorry this has happened to you and your children. I would be furious because of the reasons you stated.

Most importantly ..do they have a pediatrician now? What does that doctor say? I would make sure they were lined up with a pediatrician who should be sympathetic to your concerns and will have suggestions. That doctor will see that they have whatever immunizations they may need at their particular age. I would be concerned about unnecessary re-vaccinations ..if there are any risks,not to mention expense. Their immediate health of course is the priority. Were they in pre-school that might have any records? Any hospital visits that may have records? Did you record any of these although that wouldn't hold up as proof. Do you remember the last vaccinations they got and when? Perhaps the new doctor would take over from there? Also ..maybe the new doctor being in the profession could get someone motivated to find them. I don't know if they would but it is worth a shot.

I am sorry that I don't know the protocols here. I hope they don't have to go through all that again.

Do you have any old medical receipts. For example,I save every receipt and canceled check for tax deductions. At the end of the year,I record/review all medical office visits and expenses. that may give some proof that you had them to the pediatrician on a schedule that would be indicative of an immunization schedule. I have all my medical receipts going back to the 90s stapled to my copies of tax returns. It's worth a shot.

I really believe they sent my personal medical records out to strangers or misfiled them and did not try very hard to find them. they were making copies of people's records and giving them to patients. I am sure they must've scooped mine up into someone else's info and it makes me sick when I think of it.

I am still concerned about identity theft both for social security and medical. The thing is ..since I don't know where the records are.. I don't know when or if they will ever turn up somewhere & I pray they will not with someone who is dishonest!

I regret that I did not immediately stand up to the nurse who said she thought I was being silly and making a big deal out of it. She demonstrated her ignorance to HIPPA laws and also a lack of respect for my concerns.

I wish I had something concrete to give you to go on. My best advice is to immediately follow up with a new pediatrician, explain your concerns and follow their guidance.
Also ..were your children's social security numbers in their records? That would be another concern because social security fraud is one of the worst identity theft situations you can have.Is there an estate lawyer?

I contacted the estate lawyer and he suggested I go on an identity theft program they will pay for for one year.I also requested a letter stating that the Dr's staff lost my medical records effective January 2009, so that if anything unusual happens in the future (God forbid),I can at least present that letter to demonstrate that it could possibly be because my records got into the wrong hands. And then I let that drop because a lot of things have happened (in my personal life)that distracted me, but did re-contact the lawyer recently. I still want those things.

If you can,if you feel their identity is at risk,see if the estate lawyer will put them on a program. Life lock,the high option plan looks like a good one.
And if they do have to be re-immunized,they should pay for that as well.

I understand exactly how you feel. I know mistakes happen,but something like this should not.
I wish I could help you with this. If you have a chance ..please let me know how this works out for you Heather.

SeaSpray said...

Heather - also ..I know they must've checked ..but I have found over the years that people DO make mistakes. They will give you wrong answers. Mostly it has been with insurance or billing but there have been other medical mistakes I have seen as well.

Sometimes ..someone may not look something up right in the system and then give you erroneous info.

This may because they are new and don't know their job yet, or the computer system,are anxious to go home..pressured with time and are rushing, distracted, don't care... any number of reasons.

I have many times had to be persistent and so it is *possible* that they may have missed your children's info in the system. It's a hopeful thought and worth revisiting ..in person in the office.

Also ..some one has to be accountable. Did you speak to the office mgr? Did they refer you to anyone since the Dr died?

I sincerely hope you get the help you need and they find those records. It is a shame that because of someone's unprofessional ineptitude ..your children may have to suffer through the immunization process needlessly. I hope there is a way around that.

Rob said...
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Jack said...
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Jessica said...

These are few of the most common cases for which an individual should contact a medical malpractice lawyer. Medicinal negligence can take place in many ways.

SeaSpray said...

Jessica - thanks for the link. I know people sue over these things. I just wish I had my records or knew where they are. It is EXTREMELY upsetting to me when I think about it!

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Anonymous said...

My doctor retired 5 montha ago. He then GAVE all of the medical records to another doctor (of his chosing, not the patients'). I called the new dr to get a refill and they PROMISED to refill the Rx on Monday. They did not, nor did they on Tuesday. On Wed I called them- they cannot find my records but promised the refill will be called in that day. They lied again. So, now, I still have no meds, and have no clue where my records are. Is this just sloppy or is a lawsuit in their future? I'll see them in person tomorrow for the first and only time. If they do not have my records, I will sue.

SeaSpray said...

Hi Anonymous 4:10 - I'm sorry I didn't get right back to you. And I am sorry this happened to you.

It still bothers me that it all happened and I was treated the way I was.

I can appreciate your frustration.

I don't know if you have a case to sue and you'd have to check with a lawyer to be certain about that.

But ... How can you know if the first doctor's office actually sent your records there? Unless the new med office staff initially commented they had them?

I do think it is a good idea to go into the office before they order any meds and I would think they would also want to establish you as a patient first before ordering any refills, etc.

It does sound sloppy - like the staff doesn't know what they are doing, but maybe a new person there, etc.

I hope your appointment went well and they do find your records.