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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 33404
Experience:  Began practicing law in 1992
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How can I obtain medical records from doctors and hospitals

Customer Question

how can I obtain medical records from doctors and hospitals for my deceased husband? We live in California
JA: The Lawyer will need to help you with this. Please give me a bit more information, so we can help you best.
Customer: My husband passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on January 7th. Heart failure was listed on his death certificate. We had a Will - it's 10 years old, but it was notarized and kept in our safe. My husband saw many doctors - we live in Truckee, CA on the border of Nevada. Therefore, my husband's doctors were in both Nevada and California. He had a condo in Reno that allowed him to see his doctors should we have a snowstorm in Truckee. He died in his condo in Reno, NV of Congestive Heart Failure. My husband had complicated health issues. He also had many different doctors.
JA: OK. The Lawyer will need to help you with this. Anything else I can tell the Lawyer before I connect you two?
Customer: My husband was not mentally well at the end of his life. His heart was failing, he was not getting oxygen to his brain, he had a huge pain medication problem and his doctors in California and Nevada were not communicating with each other. He was on several medications that should never have been combined.
JA: I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Lawyer about your situation and connect you two.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Also, I can only answer the questions you specifically ask and based on the facts that you give so please be sure that you ask the questions you want to ask and provide all necessary facts. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

Unfortunately, you are almost certainly going to have to file to open a probate on his estate and then use your powers as an executor to get the records. The medical providers have taken the position, and the courts have supported them in this, that HIPAA rights continue after death and therefore you have to have some type of authorization to get records. At this point the only entity that can provide the authorization is a court or someone that has been appointed by the court to "stand in place" of the deceased such as the executor of the estate. Once you have been appointed executor you will just have to send the request along with a copy of the Letters Testamentary or the order appointing you as the executor and the medical providers should provide you the medical records with no problems.