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General Plastic Surgery Forum => General Plastic Surgery Issues => : DrBermant December 13, 2012, 12:28:17 AM

: Plastic Surgery Forum - If doc dies is it legal for wife letter 1 month records?
: DrBermant December 13, 2012, 12:28:17 AM
.@DrBermant if a dr dies and the spouse doesn't sell practice,sends letter to patients,giving us 1month to ask for records,is that legal?

This should not be construed as medical advice. I am a retired Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.

I have no clue but my guess is that there are many lawyers willing to accept money to help you find out and that can cost everyone so much more money: how wonderful and sad. Does anyone have a clue how expensive and onerous it is to try to keep medical records and all of the bureaucrats happy so many years after treating a newborn? Who is supposed to pay for such maintenance? Why should a doctor be forced to pay to perform a service that their work was not covered for at the time of the service, many years later still be paying for the record maintenance?

Medical Records Can Be Important
Your medical records can be important to have. That is why we published such offers for our patients before my retirement: Bermant Retirement Notice (http://www.plasticsurgery4u.com/plastic_surgeon_retirement.htm). And getting them while they are readily accessible make common sense. Something a patient would now be responsible for maintaining and keeping.

In my opinion, the electronic medical record EMR is a dangerous creative destructive process by rigidly applying a set of unchanging terms and phrases that I found were best left to an evolution process taking my creativity to new heights. As one of the earliest adapters of desktop publishing, I had an electronic version of records phrases for so many years. Yet by having the terms and words changeable, able to be edited as I found something better to help and better define a problem, treatment, or observation, the form to be filled out the next time was improved, and improved and better. It was neat seeing longer term patients coming back and how things had improved and changed. I had refined my methods that would have been locked in by a software restricted to guessing how things should change, not as flexible as I had it for my patients. There is also the task of form filling I watch doctors now having to do. There is only so much time and the forms rob the patients of time that could have been spent with them.

Evolving Art and Surgery Method By Better Documentation
Yet by making such a form, I was able to better define my patients' problems, what I did, what I could do better, and then repeat the process that eventually I found the changes were happening less and less. I had reached a plateau, an art.  Patients were coming from around the world for that sculpture that had evolved and documented for them to see online. It would have been my format of evolving methods and forms that would be killed by every such system I evaluated on the market place when the rules were being written that everyone had to change and adapt such systems. None came close to what I was doing or permitting rapid complex problem documentation and solving solutions. I used to go to medical meetings with my folder of such forms showing them to colleagues asking about them, talking about them, and discussing their value I was achieving in doing understanding my patients, problems, and solutions. I would hunt down those I respected and show them the forms, standard photos and videos. Ask about them, the whys and why nots. There were many I learned from in this process.

Universal Conformity Database or Dynamic Creative Flexibility with Almost Instant Abilty to Adapt and Improve for the Next Patient the Next day.
It becomes factory universal conformity or creative flexibility maximizing problem solving and solutions based on the individual vs the masses for the most profit for the most people that can be stuffed between the doc and patient. That is the destruction of healthcare I have witnessed being done over my lifetime. I could think about my day, what I had done, what I could do better, call staff, discuss their observations, and go to my forms and brainstorm and add what I had done differently so I could add that to the options that I was following. Sometimes changes came from a new problem I had never seen or something I saw from an article, lecture, continuing medical education, or just a dream about solving a particularly bad problem that I had not yet solved. Try to do that with a software program someone else has written. Good luck.

I also cannot convince of being able to put my creative mind to work on a rigid EMR format brainstorming problem solving. But someone else can siphon more health care dollars out of the system for some new database to challenge privacy, add work, and destroy creativity. But we could take dead doctors and have the records transferred to these services. Who should pay for that service, the doctor, widow, or patient, or perhaps tax dollars? How much did that doctor make in performing the service and how much will this record keeping maintenance cost?

No clue what the rules are as they can change in time, place and other factors, but is the wife not going through enough with the death of her spouse? And someone is asking is that legal? How simply sad and selfish. You could check with your local medical medical societies and find the rules and if she is violating them, add to her grief tell her what she is doing wrong. Or, perhaps you could be human, thank for your care, ask for the records and perhaps send your condolences for her loses?

What were you expecting? What do you think should be "legal?" What did you pay for? How much did your doctor get for this service? These are all things that should factor into a reasonable answer.

Hope this helps,

Michael Bermant, MD
Retired Plastic Surgeon
Learn More About Plastic Surgery (http://www.plasticsurgery4u.com/)