Can a police officer see your hospital records to check if you were dui after a car accident.

Asked almost 5 years ago - Harrisburg, PA

my daughter was unconsious at the scene of the accident and taken to the hospital. Can a police officer look at the hospital records or is that private.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Robert W. Chestney


    Contributor Level 7

    Answered . Your daughter has a privacy right to her records under the constitution, as well as a federal law known as HIPAA. The police can probably gain access to her records only by obtaining a search warrant from a judge. And a search warrant requires probable cause to believe the records would include evidence that a crime was committed. The judge considering the search warrant would need to know the basis for the officer's knowledge to see if it is reliable, and then determine if it is likely the medical records will provide incriminating evidence.

  2. Lars A. Lundeen


    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . As I am licensed in Florida and Vermont, I cannot offer you specific legal advice as to Pennsylvania state law. Absent some enabling statute which would grant access to the police in Pennsylvania under the circumstances you describe, generally hospital records are confidential and would require a subpoena or court order or a HIPAA release in order to gain access. I would suggest that you consult with a criminal attorney in Pennsylvania to determine if the police have a right to gain access to your daughter's records at the hospital.

  3. James Robin McKinney Jr


    Contributor Level 12

    Answered . Maybe. Your daughter's medical records are protected under HIPPA.So,the cops can't just get the hospital to turn over the blood test.There are some exceptions for the release of medical record under HIPPA.One of the exceptions are criminal cases.The police can subpoena the records under the HIPPA Act. One key point to remember is that hospital blood is different than blood drawn for forensic puposes.

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