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TexLaw, Attorney
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Experience:  Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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This is a medical issue. My wife has been having trouble with

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This is a medical issue. My wife has been having trouble with sores on her leg. She has been seeing a Dermatologist for about a year. She was referred to an auto-immune specialist who requested she see another dermatologist for a second opinion. She had a biopsy done by the first dermatologist right in the area of the largest sore. It was painful and has yet to fully heal up. The new Dermatologist took a biopsy of a different area and it came back positive for skin cancer. It is scary of course, but it is a type that should be easy to remove and be done with. Both the auto-immune Dr. and the new dermatologist found out that the old Dermatologist did not send the biopsy out to be read by an expert; he read it himself. The main sore is a more serious item. It has been diagnosed (I forget the medical term) and confirmed. It is a condition cause by an auto-immune reaction to her own body. It is somewhat uncommon, but not rare. There are two types; one is annoying, somewhat painful, it can cause rather ugly sores made up of very hard skin and has to be looked after for the rest of her life, but it doesn't get beyond that localized stage. The other type is more of a rare condition. It is exactly the same condition but it is not localized. It spreads internally and externally. It will attack vital organs and it is fatal. I think it is quite understandable that we want o know which it is. The biopsy may tell us. It should at least tell us more about her condition. Both new Drs. want an expert to read it. They plan to send it to Stanford for an opinion. They, professionally, requested the old Dr. to forward my wife's records concerning this condition including the biopsy slides. The old Dr. was not happy with this and personally called my wife and tried to talk her out of seeing the new Drs. He said the new place was just a plastic surgery scam and didn't know what they were doing. He said other patients have gone there and then came back begging him to help them. This went on for half an hour. He finished by saying that he would have arranged a second opinion if she had asked him, but not at Stanford. Stanford doctors don't know anything about this condition either; only he does. Can you believe this? It actually happened. He irritably agreed to forward the files, but he said he isn't sending the slides. He is keeping them. He said he once asked for slides from the new place and they refused to send them so he isn't sending my wife's to them. They could do another biopsy, but they are trying to spare my wife from going through it again. It weas very painful and in fact it still is painful and hasn't completely healed yet and that was at least a month ago. They also do not want to be digging around in the sore until they know more about it. They said they would take care of getting the slides. My wife had a follow up appointment today and found out that it looks like the old Dr. is not going to give up the slides. They are trying to decide whether or not to take another biopsy. The slides don't belong to the Dr do they? He was paid to treat the condition. He was paid to take the biopsy. he shouldn't have read it himself, but he was even paid to do that. How can he own the slides? Whether he does or doesn't, how can we get the slides from him?

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will be assisting you with your legal question.

This is indeed very suspicious. I suspect that the old doctor does not want to transfer the biopsy because it may indicate that he has been medically negligent in his diagnosis of your wife's skin condition.

The law in California states that a biopsy is actually owned by the doctor. See Moore v. Regents of the University of California (51 Cal. 3d 120; 271 Cal. Rptr. 146; 793 P.2d 479). However, this does not mean that the doctor does not owe you a fiduciary duty and should not act in your best interests.

In this case, because it would be in your wife's best interests to not have to undergo a second biopsy, I would suggest sending a certified letter to the doctor demanding that he transfer the biopsy for further testing and warning that if he does not do this, you will be forced to seek legal intervention by the courts. As her doctor, he is required to act as a fiduciary to her and has no reasonable justification for retaining the sample.

Please let me know if you have any further questions. Please also kindly consider rating my answer positively so that I am credited by the website for my work on your question. Rating positively does not cause an additional charge and does not prevent us from further discussing your questions.

Kind regards,
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