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Can we request OLD medical records?
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Can we request OLD medical records?

Does anyone know if its possible to request OLD hospital/medical records or doctors notes from past hospitalizations? I had surgery at age 9, (29 years ago) and had an undiagnosed "infection" requiring pretty intensive surgery, no one at that time could determine what the infection was, doc's stated they had never seen anything like it. Hospitalized for several days. I've been trying to research info about some past illnesses and if they're related to current ones I'm dealing with. I tried contacting the hospital with no success. Just wondering if there was a way of doing this, or am I out of luck?
Tags: Health, years
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You must make a written request to the hospital, addressed to the medical records department detailing your request.  Try to include the month and year of the hospitalization, the correct spelling of your name, DOB, and any other identifying info you can think of.

Be sure to put in your contact info, and be aware they will charge you for copying the records.  If they were from so long ago, the records may be archived and stored away from the hospital itself, so retrieving records from so long ago may take weeks.  

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Be persistant.  We tried to retrieve some medical records from 1980 for my sister.  She had a brain tumor, and we needed some kind of notes on her CAT scans.  It took months, but eventually, with me calling EVERY DAY---(I think they only looked b/c I was on their nerves) they found them archived in a box in a storage building, not even attached to the hospital.  Good luck.  For future reference, you can get copies of records, especially if you have ongoing medical issues.  It is nice to have copies of these if you will be travelling, especially copies of scans, tests, blood work, etc.
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Avatar_f_tn
Be prepared to pay coping fees, higher than normal coping fees. (which in my state/area is 10 to 15 cents per).  
Which I am sure you won't mind paying as long as you get the records you requested.

Good Luck.
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Avatar_f_tn
Check your state laws.  Your probably can do this by computer search.
State laws vary with respect to the length of time medical records must be kept
It is recommended that both adult and pediatric, be kept for at least 10 years after the date of the last professional encounter, whether in person, by telephone, or by other means. However, some sources suggest keeping pediatric records up to 17 years past the age of majority or, more commonly, to the age of majority plus the statute of limitations. The records of a hospital-owned practice will need to be kept for as long as the state requires the hospital record to be kept, often 25 or 30 years.
The Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA) of 1992 directs that mammograms be kept for at least five years, ten years if the patient has had no other mammograms in the same facility (or office), or longer if required by state law. As a general rule, other imaging films may need to be retained for five years, with variance possible from state to state. If a film was performed by the practice, it may be subject to the guidelines of the department of public health or equivalent organization. Retention in these cases may be required for up to 30 years. In some states there are separate regulations concerning the retention of the reports of imaging studies

HIPAA - Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act requires health care providers, health plans, and health care clearinghouse to allow you access to your medical records.  You have the right to copies of all paperwork and the actual slides, x rays and any other related material regarding your healthcare and treatment.    Notices you receive from providers and plans must include information about how you can obtain copies of your medical records.
In addition to HIPAA, about half the states have laws that allow patients or their designated representatives, you (or your assigns, such as those you have given power of attorney to -- check with your lawyer if you have a precise question about this)  to access medical records. Laws usually allow health care facilities to charge a "reasonable" fee for copying records.

More here and for U.S. Department of Health, Human Services
Office of Civil Rights address and How to access your own records http://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs8-ed.htm#E
and http://www.malecare.com/new_page_67.htm

Best to check out all possibilities so that you know your rights and when you are given the run around, i.e., snow job!

Good Luck!

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Avatar_n_tn
Most procedures/scans/labs at hospitals now fall under ruling
that even if they have the time to look, they don't have to
supply you w/ copies after 7-10 yrs. Just depends on state.
If they have them, they would be now on film & may only be held
to produce by a court order on a case. Dr's ofc's don't have to
give copies after 7 yrs to patients, but I know many that vault
them up to 12 & then shred/burn. It's a tool to keep their own
premiums down. Many labs have CT/MRI films vaulted & will give
you if 10 yrs. past & allow a week to search after signing a request form. Dr's write crypt-notes in files on you. The law
states that you are not entitled to those. They are considered
written thoughts/opinions. Only a court can rule to have them produced. Most of the time they are scribbles in the Dr's own
design that only he can translate anyway.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you all for your help, I really appreciate it!!!
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Thank you all again, such good information, it'll definitely help get me going in the right directioin & I'll know not to get my hopes up if I don't get them! THANKS! :)
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Avatar_n_tn
I need to find my Mothers medical records. She died almost 30 years ago and the hospital where she died  closed some years ago and was replaced by another county hospital here in Houston, Texas.  How do I find out where her medical records are.  She passed away at Jeff Davis Hospital in 1979. I do believe my Mother and I share similar health issues and I need to know all about her.  Will someone please help. I need to know what to do.  Thanks in advance.
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