According to St. Joseph’s, Tampa’s largest hospital, patients do not have the right to request every report and every piece of paper from their records for the last 75 years. However, that is exactly what some patients and their malpractice lawyers are requesting.
According to the website, Health News Florida, a Florida malpractice attorney recently requested every “adverse incident” report from St. Joseph’s since 1934. According to the report, the hospital denied the request and sued the attorney in which the attorney responded by suing right back.
Apparently, demands like this are becoming more popular, especially since the adoption of the Patient’s Right to Know Act in 2004, popularly known as Amendment 7. This amendment gave patients more access to their medical records.
“Just the logistics of the hospital trying to pursue it is extremely burdensome,” said St. Joseph’s attorney, Andrew S. Bolin. “You would be talking about potentially tens of thousands of records.”
Requests like these are what medical and hospital groups originally feared during the 2004 campaign over Amendment 7. Over these concerns, the Legislature passed a law reducing provisions, exempting most records from being required to be made available. They stated that the amendment would not apply to incidents that took place before the passage of Amendment 7.
However, in 2008, the state Supreme Court dismissed the Legislature’s restrictions requiring all hospitals to comply with record requests by patients.