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When can doctors refuse to release your medical records?

Posted by attorney Daniel Finney

A person who may be considering legal action after an injury caused by medical malpractice may need to access their medical records for evidence. This part of a medical malpractice claim is common as these records can used in order to show that an injury was clearly linked to the defendant's actions. There are some instances, however, where a physician may refuse a patient their own records. This can even be the case with the records of their children.

A person may not be able to get their medical records from their physician due to certain privacy laws. These situations are rare, but they may apply to some people who are looking for medical records as evidence. Doctors can refuse to release certain information as they may be exceptions to normal records release policies. This information includes:

  • A child's records if their medical care was court-mandated
  • Records being used in another legal action
  • A patient's psychotherapy treatment notes
  • Records that could endanger that patient if released
  • A child's records if the parents agreed to a confidential relationship between their child and the child's doctor

In these situations, a person may want to consult with a legal advisor in order to determine their next course of action.

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