If your doctor is retiring, must he make a copy of your whole medical file or can he just give you a summary?

My sister goes to a doctor that has his own practice. He has told her he is retiring at the end of next month. he has told her he can’t ever copy all the files he has so he will just have to make a summary of her file. Can he do that and not release her file. She has a lot of medical problems and has had a lot of test over the years that we need. We do not want to start over again when he has these records. We would be willing to pay to have them copied or copy them ourselves if that is what it takes. I need to know if we can make him give us the file.

Asked on February 22, 2013 under Malpractice Law, South Carolina


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

No, I can not imagine that your state would allow that.  Generally under the law in every state a patient is entitled to their ENTIRE medical record.  There is definitely a fee that can be charged and you could even arrange for an outside service to pick up the file and have it copied.  Is he selling his practice?  Then that file may go with the sale but you are entitled to a complete copy.  Even copies of any tests like x-rays, CT scans, etc.  Good luck. 

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