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Real Life Tragedies That Could Have Been Prevented With Immediate Access to Medical Records


Posted on November 1, 2014

Life TragediesAs you may have read before on this site and other sites it is very important to have immediate access to you and your family members’ medical records. Oftentimes, we read warnings and advice like this and don’t really think much of it. We typically jump to conclusions like “oh that will never happen to me” or “that’s not really true, they’re just trying to sell me something.” The facts of the matter are that medical records are of vital importance because the health of you and your family is no laughing matter. Medical records are essential every time you receive any type of medical treatment and in some cases, not having access to them can cost you your life.

Real People, Real Tragedies

In this article we will discuss two real life tragedies that occurred because patients did not have access to their medical records. Their names have been altered or removed from the stories to protect their rights.

Case 1

As her husband lay in his hospital bed for five straight days suffering from kidney cancer, Mrs. Wright was adamantly arguing with the hospital’s doctors as she tried to obtain copies of her husband’s medical records. She knew that they would likely need these records for his ongoing care, but in those five days the facility was unable to fulfill her request. On the sixth day in the hospital Mr. Wright needed to be rushed to another hospital in order to receive the proper care and this time it wasn’t just Mrs. Wright who didn’t have her husband’s medical records. When he arrived at the new hospital a complete copy of his medical records was never transferred over. For six painstaking hours he laid in his hospital bed without being administered any pain medication because doctors did not want to overdose him. They had no idea how much medication he had been given at the last hospital because they did not have his records.

Mrs. Wright was left with no choice, but to scramble back to the original hospital and demand her husband’s records. Mrs. Wright said that she had to be mean and aggressive with the facility and really make them feel like they were directly inflicting pain on her husband until they came back with a copy of the records nearly two hours later. She then hurried back to the new hospital and after looking over his records, Mr. Wright was given the medication he needed. This ordeal was not only physically painful for Mr. Wright, but was also emotionally and mentally draining for Mrs. Wright who couldn’t understand how a system that is supposed to help patients was so reluctant to do so. She knew that he would need those crucial copies of his medical records, but because of the deficiencies of the system it was nearly impossible for her to obtain them. Mr. Wright ended up succumbing to the kidney cancer a few months later.

Case 2

Around the same time period another man laid on an operating table waiting to have his kidney removed. He too had kidney cancer, but in his case doctors had decided that the best option for his health was to remove the kidney entirely. The surgery was performed successfully and the man was now left with only one kidney. There was only one major problem that doctors later discovered the day after the surgery: they had removed the wrong kidney.

Weeks before the surgery, a doctor had incorrectly labeled which kidney was cancerous. The records were never examined again until the day after the surgery when doctors studied the kidney they had removed and found it to be cancer free. The patient was now left with one cancerous kidney in his body while his healthy kidney was removed and of no use. The patient’s chances of survival were obviously greatly diminished and the cause of this situation was the hospital’s carelessness with the patient’s medical records. If the patient, his family, or the surgeons had immediate access to his records, this tragic mistake may not have been made.

How to Protect Yourself from Medical Error

Both of these situations were incredibly tragic and unfortunate for everyone involved. A patient’s health should never suffer because of the availability of their medical records, but in both of these cases that is exactly what happened. Medical tragedies can happen to any one of us and in order to protect you and your loved ones, you need to take preventative actions. Whether it’s you who physically goes and retrieves your records or a third party company who does it for you, it is strongly advised to obtain copies of your medical records so that you can prevent tragedies like the ones that are listed above.

If you would like us to help you obtain copies of your medical records today, fill out the required information on this page and we will immediately begin gathering your critical documents.

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