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Q: Action for libel, defamation and medical malpractice against doctor ( No Answer,   1 Comment )
Subject: Action for libel, defamation and medical malpractice against doctor
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: gruff99-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 22 Jan 2006 14:09 PST
Expires: 21 Feb 2006 14:09 PST
Question ID: 436549
I have recently discovered that a medical clinic and physician (MD) in
the State of Washington which I visited has recorded false, defamatory
and libelous information about me, to wit, abusive drug usage which
was not true, on my medical records.  May I bring an action against
the clinic and the doctor for libel, defamation and medical

Request for Question Clarification by sublime1-ga on 22 Jan 2006 17:14 PST
Medical records, by definition, are private, not public.
Defamation and libel generally refer to incorrect data
made available to the public at large. Those specific
records cannot even be released to another medical 
facility without your consent in writing, and are
entirely unavailable to the public.

Medical malpractice refers to errors in medical procedures
which can be shown to have had a negative impact on the
physical health of the recipient, so would not be 
applicable here.

Medical records commonly contain considered opinions,
in addition to facts such as laboratory data. Diagnoses
themselves are little more than informed opinions, or
educated guesses, and are subject to change with added
information over time.

I see no reason to feel threatened by what you've 

If this satisfies your interests in posing this question,
post a Clarification to let me know, and I'll post this
as a formal answer. Otherwise, let me know what else you
need to understand.


Clarification of Question by gruff99-ga on 22 Jan 2006 20:03 PST
The Washington doctor made false notations in my record that I was a
heroin user and a cocaine user, albeit a former one.  These records
have been disseminated to a lawyer for a tire company against which I
have a product liability claim for personal injury, and to my current
doctor.  These false statements may very well damage my product
liability claim and has certainly damaged my reputation and
credibility with my current doctor.  I have no idea what made the
Washington doctor enter these entirely false statements into my
records other than the possibility that he confused me with another
patient.  There were numerous other errors in my medical records which
also damage my credibility, such as misspelled name, incorrect Date of
Birth, age and social security number.

Request for Question Clarification by sublime1-ga on 22 Jan 2006 21:42 PST
With all the errors you cited, what provides any certainty
that this was your record? A court order can force the
release of your records without your permission, though
I'm not sure how your current doctor came to have a copy,
unless you signed some sort of blanket release form, 
either with your current doctor, for previous records, 
or with the former doctor, for future requests.

You are certainly entitled to view the old records, with
the consent of the Doctor (the records are technically
the property of the clinic), and to request correction
of the errors be entered into them. You could then 
assert that the corrected records, or records including
a list of your corrections, be sent to the lawyer and
your current doctor. Beyond that, I'm not sure how it
might play out, or what other options you might exercise.


Clarification of Question by gruff99-ga on 23 Jan 2006 07:11 PST
That is exactly one of the points I am making: I don't have any real
certainty that some of the records in question are mine.  The doctor's
office has screwed up big time.  The lawyer for the defense in my
product liability case received the medical records as part of my
claim for personal injury.  It was in reviewing these records (after I
had sent them -- my bad) that I discovered the libelous information
about drug usage.  My current doctor received my blood report and EKG,
both of which had only erroneous information such as my name, social
security number, age and date of birth because I gave them to her
voluntarily.  She also questioned whether these records were actually
mine.  There must be some tort law under which I might demand
compensation from the erring medical clinic and doctor.  I hope you
can offer me something.  Thank you.
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Action for libel, defamation and medical malpractice against doctor
From: dragon85-ga on 18 Aug 2006 09:07 PDT

Have you considered contacting the Medical Review Board in your state?

I am in a similar situation -- my PCP of 12 years made multiple
inferential leaps (all wrong), and now my medical record suggests I am
alcoholic, bankrupt, an unemployed construction worker (I am female),
and that I made a prior suicide attempt. I am actually a
soon-to-graduate PhD seeking licensure, and these accusations may
shatter my career. I complained to the hospital Patient Relations
Department, but my complaint was dismissed as "lacking merit." (Why
should they believe me, when my record suggests I'm a nut?) I have an
injury that was grossly under-treated by this same doc (the reason I
requested my records), but subsequent doctors don't want to get
involved. I was actually abandoned (legal definition) by one surgeon
who initially recommended surgery; his explanation was "lack of
trust". My life has been destroyed. I had always trusted doctors, but
my new impression is that they care much more about their peers than
their patients.

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