Can Patients Sue For Altered Hospital Records?
If an individual becomes injured due to some type of medical treatment, a medical malpractice lawsuit can be filed. The aforementioned medical treatment can be administered by a nurse, doctor, hospital, clinic or a medical facility. Therefore, altered medical records give an injured party a valid reason for filing a malpractice claim.
Altered Medical Records Defined
Federal and state laws dictate that medical facilities and health providers must maintain complete and accurate medical records for each patient. Required documentation for these records includes a full medical history, prescribed medications, and treatment plans. It is considered malpractice to make false or unauthorized changes to any patient’s medical records as doing so relates to patient treatment. When this occurs, the party may have a valid medical malpractice claim.
Injury and Damages
The plaintiff in any claim or lawsuit must prove that he or she has suffered from damages, either monetary or physical, due to the defendant’s actions. In order to file an actionable claim against altered medical records, the patient must suffer from some type of injury due to the changes made.
Improper medical treatment, treatments denied by insurance companies, extra costs for unnecessary treatments, and insurance claim denials are all actionable damages stemming from altered medical records. If changed records cause a patient to undergo harmful, improper, or unnecessary procedures, multiple malpractice claims related to one another can be simultaneously filed.
Obtaining Copies of Altered Medical Records
First, the injured party must get copies of all medical records that he alleges were altered. A patient has the right to make changes to, review, and obtain copies of his or her medical records. Therefore, gathering evidence from a patient’s records is usually an easy, straightforward process. It is essential to gather evidence of changes for any type of medical malpractice claim involving altered medical records.
Gather Evidence of Changes
Upon obtaining copies of the medical records in question for a malpractice suit, the plaintiff must then gather copies of any documents that clearly show the changes made to the records. Applicable documents that support a malpractice claim of this kind include written opinions given by medical record experts and previously created medical records. The evidence listed above is crucial in proving illegally made medical record alterations.
Filing a Claim
The last step is to file the malpractice lawsuit. Almost every state oversees the specific procedures for filing a medical malpractice claim. The plaintiff’s case should comply with all rules and regulations such as the statute of limitations.
Anyone who has incurred injury as a direct result of illegal or unauthorized medical record alterations should consider obtaining legal representation. An attorney can explain what must be proved for this type of allegation and determine whether the case’s facts amount to an actionable claim.