5 mos old baby died at home, not in hosp. Baby's heart defect due to bad drug Mother took during pregnancy. State gave Mother Autopsy Report, Doctors gave medical records to family, why does this hospital want to force this lady to open probate and incur all expenses just to obtain her baby's medical records
Estate Planning Attorney
I am very sorry about this tragic situation. In practice parents often can get these types of records without a problem. However if the hospital is requiring probate to be opened it may be easier to just do it than fight it. Opening an estate is not as difficult or daunting as you might think so I would not get too upset about having to incur some fees (probably a few hundred dollars) to open the estate. It sounds to me like you are also exploring a wrongful death or malpractice suit so you would have to open an estate anyway in order to do that. I would contact a personal injury attorney and/or probate attorney to walk you through the bulk of the process but you may be able to take care of simply "raising the estate" quickly and easily.
This is not legal advice nor intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided here is informational in nature only. This attorney may not be licensed in the jurisdiction which you have a question about so the answer could be only general in nature. Visit Steve Zelinger's website: http://www.stevenzelinger.com/
No telling why they really want you to open probate but look at it as though they are doing you a favor. They are forcing you to retain counsel who may be able to give you guidance and advice incase you wish to proceed against any party for this most tragic incident.
Legal disclaimer: This answer does not constitute legal advice. I am admitted to practice law in the State of Missouri only, and make no attempt to opine on matters of law that are not relevant to Missouri. This answer is based on general principles of law that may or may not relate to your specific situation, and is for promotional purposes only. You should never rely on this answer alone and nothing in these communications creates an attorney-client relationship. less
Estate Planning Attorney
While it is true that opening a probate in Colorado should not be a major ordeal, I believe the hospital is wrong and the parents should not have to resort to this. Under HIPPA, the federal health care privacy law, a parent is generally considered the "personal representative" of a minor child, over whom the parent has the ability to make medical decisions, and is therefore entitled to the child's medical records. There are exceptions, particularly with adolescents who may wish to seek medical help confidentially and have given their personal consent to treatment. However, this clearly is not the case with a newborn baby. Perhaps a well phrased letter from a lawyer to the hospital would resolve the issue.
This response is not intended to create an attorney/client relationship between any individuals, and is not intended as specific legal advice.
Health Care Lawyer
Hospitals generally do not have the discretion to refuse these sorts of requests, although they can request payment for them. I would agree that a nicely worded letter might do it.
I am licensed in New Mexico and Pennsylvania, and therefore any discussion of issues related to other states must considered within that context. In addition, my comments are not intended to create a legal representation but merely to respond to the limited facts presented by the question. Any opinion herein is not meant as a precise statement of legal rights or as a recommendation of any particular course of action. A more complete legal review can be obtained through local counsel.