Can I sue my hospital if they lose my medical records?

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Can I sue my hospital if they lose my medical records?

I was in the hospital and when I was discharged, a few days later, they called and asked me if I took my medical chart when I left. I told them that I didn’t have it. I called the hospital again yesterday and asked if they found it because it has some private information in it that I would like to keep that way. They claimed to have found it but there are many pages missing. I still don’t feel safe, what can I do?

Asked on May 23, 2011 under Malpractice Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) If you are injured because of a missing record--e.g. get improper medical care--you  may have a malpractice suit.

2)  If you have to spend extra money to redo tests, etc., you may be able to make a claim or sue for those costs.

3) If you actually suffer some economic injury, such as from identify theft, you may be able to sue the hospital for breach of its duty of care vis-a-vis your records and recover compensation commensurate with the loss or with the steps you have to take to protect your identity.

However, in the absence of some actual loss or injury, there is nothing to sue for. The law does not give you recovery for merely speculative or possible harm.


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