Mistakes on Medical Records/Diagnosis: Are They Common?

Recently my husband had a huge medical scare.  The scary part is we were never informed by his doctor about it, we actually stumbled upon the information.  The doctor’s office he uses has a service where you can pull up all your medical records called, “Follow My Health”  It is a service that records everything that is done when you see your provider. They track medicines, treatments, tests, doctor’s comments, literally everything involved in your visit to your provider.  When we were first told about this feature, we were really excited. It just was going to make life easier to get simple blood test results, etc.

So we proceeded to set up his account.   Within a week or so of setting up his online access, he signed on to find some really scary information, which is where our “medical scare” comes in.  As he was scrolling down checking on his recent blood work, prescriptions, etc, he saw where it stated he had a “large lung mass”. I am fairly certain he about passed out reading those words.   You see, we had never been informed about any lung mass. Yep, you read that correctly , NOBODY had said anything to us about anything regarding a lung mass. Needless to say, we were stunned.

All of this happened on a weekend, so it was a couple of days before he could call and make an appointment to go in and talk with his doctor about it.   When he did finally get in to see his provider, they told him it must have been a “mistake” and they removed it from his record. I was in SHOCK!! First of all, how could they have made such a HUGE mistake on his medical record and secondly, there was little to no explanation on how that happened!!   To be completely honest, to this day I still worry about it.  I wonder if there is something there and because nobody caught it to talk with him or start any type of treatment, they called it a mistake? In addition to that, how can they just delete something from your medical record without investigating it further??   They never told him who entered it, or where this had come from? He and I both had been in an major accident around the time that this “mass” was put into his medical record , so for all I know they had found something on the imaging that was done after that accident. The imaging was done out of town, but we do know that his provider had sent for the records from our wreck because they continued treatment for his injuries when we returned to town.

Now since all of this took place, we have talked with friends about it.  We have had several people mention that it would be a good idea to talk with a Medical Malpractice Lawyer about this subject.  We did call some local attorneys, however I have since found that if you are wanting to pursue this type of issue, especially if you live in a smaller town like ours, you are better off to go a little outside of your area.   So that is what we are in the process of doing.  We are still waiting to hear back from a couple of contacts we have made.  I know that the next step I would like to take is to have the necessary testing done, yet the question becomes how do you do that and have it covered under our insurance?  I mean you can’t just call up your insurance company and tell them hey, I think there was a mistake on my medical records when those records have been deleted.   It is an extremely frustrating position to be in!!

I am writing this post today for a couple of reasons.  My primary reason is to tell people read your medical records!  If your doctor offers you the ability to have a service like I described above, I encourage you to use it.   Hopefully you never have the experience that we have had. It is a wonderful way to keep up with what is going on with your health.  My second reason for writing this, I am curious if there is anybody that has had a similar issue with their doctors office and medical records? If so, what were the responses that your medical provider had? What was the doctor’s next step afterwards? What were the questions that you didn’t ask but wish you had? Doctors are in no way perfect, but this does not excuse them making mistakes that could very easily have a major impact on your life, and then just erasing it like it never happened without answering any questions or investigating why that might have happened.  So the moral of the story is this is YOUR health, keep a close eye on it.   

I would love to hear feedback from you!!  Have you ever had a similar experience?  Answer the questions I had asked above in my comment section below!!  

One Response so far.

  1. Amy D says:

    Yikes! I am sorry about your experience. This is a great reminder to be thorough in reading records. I haven’t had any negative experiences, but I have an uncle whose doctor missed red flags on his blood work that indicated cancer. If it wasn’t for my aunt noticing, the cancer may have stayed undetected.

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