A couple of weeks ago I started to think about the various conditions I’ve had treated over the years.  I was trying to place when I first discovered or had something treated with significant events in my life.  I found that I couldn’t reliably remember the point in time when I, for example, went to the doctor the first time about my migraines or when I had a hiatal hernia episode.  At that point, I decided I needed to obtain my medical records from the various physicians and facilities I’ve been at to fill in the picture I needed.

I contacted the hospital of the ER I went to when I first had a hiatal hernia attack to see what the diagnosis went.  Apparently the records from 1997 were too old and not available.  I then contacted my internist to get the results of my EGD so I could see the exact result of the test.  I found out that he didn’t give me all of the results after I had the procedure.  The last stop in my quest for medical records was with the last family doctor I had before my current.

Calling on a Monday to a doctor’s office is asking for trouble, and I knew it.  I sat on hold for nearly twenty minutes but kept calm about it.  When I finally got to speak to the receiptionist, I gave her my name and said I needed a full copy of my medical records.  She seemed thrown off asking me what doctor to send them too.  Explaining that I am compiling a set of medical records myself, she seemed to understand.  All the while I’m thinking to myself – who fucking cares – I’m asking for my shit so give it to me!  Anyway, she never verified my date of birth, address, got a phone number – was told just to pick them up Thursday.

Thursday came, and even though I was told I shouldn’t call in to make sure they’re ready, I did.  Big surprise, she totally forgot.  [Starting to see why I left the dump?]  She apologized and said that they’ll be ready by Monday.  I stopped in Monday night to get the papers and walked in with my duct tape wallet, ready to retrieve my ID.  I waited a few minutes to be recognized by the wait staff and then gave her my name and said I was here to pick up a copy of medical records.  She walked in the back and grabbed a manila envelope, handing it to me.  I asked her if she needed to see my ID at all.  Her response?  Nah, not really.


I left, happy to get my records and started on my way home.  Mulling over the events unfolding to this day of medical enlightenment, I realized that medical office is a pile of completely unorganized dog shit.  When I got home, I looked up HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and promptly filed a complaint against the office.  Medical records are supposed to be closely guarded and are protected by a ton of laws.  She never established that I was authorized to obtain my medical records nor did she verify my identity upon picking them up!  Scary stuff.  I really hope they get in trouble.

And we wonder how identity theft starts.

Categories: Headaches


I'm a 20-something full time geek, part time student and photographer with a life partner, dog, house, and the two cars. I also have an ice pick in my left temple every day.


Diana Lee · January 21, 2009 at 4:40 PM

I’m so glad you made the effort to file a complaint against that office. Their cavalier attitude toward your private medical information is really appalling.

ErinM · January 24, 2009 at 9:52 PM

Hey there 🙂 Hope everything’s going alright for you. Just wanted to stop by to say hi!!

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