The Importance of Keeping Your Medical Records
Your medical records are not just for the occasional read-through of nurses and doctors. Medical records track your illnesses, injuries and – most importantly – the actions that medical practitioners take in treating you. Whether it’s a nurse taking your blood pressure or a surgeon performing a hip replacement, every procedure should be fully documented in your medical records.
If your medical records are not up-to-date or there are discrepancies, it could cost you if you are planning to pursue legal action. You do, however, have the right to access your medical records, which can make all the difference if you are fighting a case where every last detail matters.
Continuity of Care
The purpose of medical records is to provide a complete and continuing picture of a patient’s heath. The basic concept is that nurses and doctors attending a patient will have access to important information that could influence how the patient is treated. Without continuity of care, medical professionals would be left fumbling in the dark.
However, medical records can also show that an attending medical professional was negligent in his or her care. For instance, if your medical record explicitly states that you react poorly to a certain medication, it would stand to reason that any attending physician would take that medicine off your schedule and seek an alternative. Your records could serve as vital evidence of any administering of incorrect medicine.
Your personal improvements rely on the information contained within your medical records. If you are pursuing rehabilitation therapy, your medical records may give the therapist an idea of where to start with your rehabilitation. Old injuries may not mean much to you, but to a rehabilitation therapist, your old injuries are a goldmine of information. A great rehabilitation therapist can create a personal plan for you based on your medical history.
Accuracy of Data
You wouldn’t be considering a malpractice lawsuit unless you believed that the hospital messed up. However, all of the results of your medical problem should have been hastily documented before, during, and after the event. Although you cannot rely on medical record data being 100% accurate, these records are still a primary source of information in a malpractice action.
If you believe that you may have received care that qualifies as medical malpractice, it is important to keep your medical records so that you can keep track of the information that is contained in your files and so that they can be reviewed, if necessary, by an attorney. If an unscrupulous person decides to change your medical records, it helps if you already have the original copy. Keeping your medical files is a great way to keep everyone honest if you are pursuing a malpractice case.
Your Legal Representation
It will really help your legal representative to have access to your medical records at the outset. While an attorney can request records if he or she decides to take the case, this process can take time, so any records a client has upon signing up with the attorney would be helpful. Building a case for malpractice often depends on the information that is contained in medical records. Your medical records act as a step-by-step guide to the progression of your original injury to the medical condition that you suspect was due to negligence.
Having access to your medical records will allow your attorney to pour over the data that is most important in your case – the state of your health prior to and after medical intervention. These details are important as they can often paint a picture of how your health was affected by an unnecessary procedure or the misuse of pain medications. Medical records are an invaluable source of information for your malpractice attorney.
If you suspect that there was malpractice involved in your recent hospital visit, contact Nelson & Hammons for a free consultation. Our team of legal experts is waiting to ensure that you receive the best advice and representation.