Your medical records contain a range of important information, from your family history to symptoms you may have reported about a serious condition or disease.
It's critical that the information is accurate. A mistake can have dire consequences. According to the Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, nearly 10 percent of people who obtain medical records online ask for corrections. That means there's a chance your records may contain errors. Don't assume that someone else will check for you or that the medical professionals who treat wouldn't make such errors.
What types of errors might be found in medical records?
Medical records may contain the following mistakes, according to a CNN article:
- Incorrect diagnosis, scan or lab results
- Transcription errors
- Omissions such as allergies, lab results, medications
- Incorrect or incomplete family history
Any one of the errors above - if left uncorrected - can have a disastrous impact and may trigger a medical malpractice lawsuit. But even smaller errors can lead to complications. If contact information is missing or incorrect in the record, the hospital or doctor may be unable to reach the patient in case of an emergency or may send a bill to the wrong location.
What you can do to prevent errors
You need to stay on top of your medical records:
- Collect your medical records
- Ask questions about the records
- Be on the alert for errors
How to correct a medical report error?
If you discover a mistake in your medical report, the first thing you should do is ask a doctor or hospital if they have a form to submit to suggest a correction. They may have a paper or electronic form to fill out. For small errors like a wrong phone number, patients can simply cross out the incorrect information and write in the correct phone number.
For more complex errors, such as the wrong description of symptoms or a contested diagnosis, you may need to draft a statement explaining what's wrong in the report and why and how it should be revised.
The law requires doctors and hospitals to respond in writing within 60 days, although they may request an extension.
If their request is rejected, patients have a right to add another statement for consideration. They also can file a complete with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or the state Medical Licensing Board.
What to do if harmed because of a medical report error?
If a mistake in a medical report results in harm to you or a loved one, you will need to take action to protect your rights. The doctor, hospital and their insurance companies may deny any wrongdoing or try to convince you that the mistake was your fault.
That's why it's critical to talk to an experienced attorney. We know the truth. The medical malpractice attorneys at The Deratany Firm have years of experience fighting for clients who have been injured because of medical errors. Contact us today to learn how we can help.