My son was severely injured in a D.C. hospital and they won't give me his medical records. What can I do?

A D.C. hospital has to give you your medical records - even when the hospital caused a serious injury or medical condition to you or one of your family members.

You need to be careful when getting the medical records or medical chart though. Sometimes a hospital will try to "hide the ball" and give you only some of the medical records, especially if you requested these yourself and your request doesn't cover everything - remember, if you're in the hospital for any period of time, you probably have had diagnostic tests, radiology, labs, physician orders, consultations, medication administration, etc.

And there should be a record for everything.  Sometimes records, notes or other information will be added to the medical chart later, so it's important to make sure you have everything that exists, so you can show records, forms, notes, etc. were added later by a doctor, nurse, administrator, or someone else in the hospital if that was the case.

That's one of the reasons we recommend reviewing the original medical chart in the hospital if you're investigating a  medical malpractice case or the cause of a serious injury in a hospital.  We actually go to the medical records office in the hospital and review everything by hand for the people we represent.

What about electronic medical records?  Many hospitals, private doctors and HMOs now use an electronic medical system (and some use a combination of paper and electronic).  You should still request a complete copy of the records, either on a disc or a paper copy.  Sometimes, these systems will show you (on the paper copy you get) who reviewed the patient's medical record, when the doctor or nurse reviewed it, whether they reviewed any diagnostic tests - like x-rays or MRIs, whether they reviewed the medication list of the patient's medications, whether they ordered a medication, a test, or wanted to bring in a specialist or consultant to see the patient.

If your child was severely injured in a hospital, requesting the medical records is the first step to get started.

There is a lot more that we do to get you answers about what happened to your child and to get you and your family the help you need.  All you need to do is call us - there is no obligation or cost - and we'll help you get started today.