Check Your Own Medical Records
Q. How do I get them in the first place?
You are entitled to a complete copy of your own medical records, the records of your children under age 18, and the records of any adult who gives you written permission to do so. The best website, in my view, is www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs8b-MedFAQ.htm.
It includes a form letter for you to print out, fill in, and send to your providers.
Q. Once I get them, what then?
Once you have your records, I show you how to sort them, extract the most important documents, and search for “Red Flags” that point to areas that need special clarification.
Q. But what about all that technical medical jargon?
You ignore it. Most errors occur in plain English. They occur because doctors misstate your own “story,” don’t recognize their own failures of logic, or do not take into account the interpretations and recommendations of other doctors on your case. They may even be the wrong doctors for the job: a student doctor given too much responsibility, or a specialist in the “wrong” specialty for your condition.
Q. What do I do about the Red Flags?
Call them to the attention of your physician promptly, get them corrected, and make sure they stay correct in future documents.