Monday, June 28, 2021


With apologies to my doctor friends, doctors and I don’t get along. It’s not that I’m a difficult patient, because really, I’m not. I have fairly low expectations—you went to medical school, I didn’t, so I’m going to assume you’re the expert. But I expect respect, and apparently, that’s in short supply. Thanks to my dad’s genetics, my body tends to get odd reactions to things, things doctors don’t often see, and as a result, most doctors don’t believe me until they see it. So when I finally do find a doctor I can tolerate and who I have trained to believe me, I stick with them forever and follow their instructions to the letter—seriously, one doctor told me to do something, I did it, and he acted surprised when I came back and showed him the results. Like, really? Did you think I wouldn’t listen? What the heck am I paying you for if I’m not going to listen to you?

Anyway, I hate finding new doctors, but I’m currently in the process of finding two—one is retiring and one I have hated for so long that I have finally had enough.


So, I called the office of the doctor who is retiring and asked for my records. The woman on the phone said she couldn’t do that. 

I’m sorry, they’re my records. 

She said if she gave them to me, she’d have to give them to the other thousand patients of the doctor. 

Oh boy. This doctor has a thousand patients? Trust me, she’s not that good. So I told the woman I wasn’t asking for the thousand records, just my own. 

She offered to give me phone numbers for the different testing places. I said I’d really just like my records. 

She said the doctor’s notes were illegible. That’s not really my problem. 

So I asked again. 

She said she’d ask the doctor and get back to me after the weekend. I waited. 


In the meantime, I looked up my rights and found out that it’s a HIPAA violation to refuse to give them to me. Now, EVERYONE gets HIPAA wrong, so I was hesitant to use that knowledge, but I kept it in the back of my mind as I waited for the office to get back to me.  They didn’t.


I called again. This time, the woman said if she gave me the records, she’d have to do it for the other TWO thousand patients. I kindly refrained from expressing my shock that a retiring doctor took on an extra thousand patients over the weekend, but maybe some organization should take her on for membership duties. I mean, she’s going to have a lot more free time... 

I asked to speak to the doctor and I was told no. She continued to give me excuses, and I continued to ask to speak to the doctor. Finally, I repeated the information I’d learned about HIPAA and said I was sure the doctor didn’t mean to violate the law. There were more excuses given. Eventually she agreed to leave the doctor a message, although she didn’t think the doctor would return my call.

Neither did I.


I should say here that while I’ve never liked this doctor’s office staff, the doctor has been very nice and responsive to me in the past. However, she was clearly busy the day they taught how to hire office staff. 


Anyway, fifteen minutes later, the woman in the office called back and said unbeknownst to her, my records had already been copied and were waiting for me. 


Would I mind picking them up? Of course not! I have no idea what shape the records will be in, but at least I’m getting them. 


No idea what the other two thousand patients are going to do, but they have my sympathy.


  1. Wow, Jennifer, it's a good thing you're persistent! I'm sorry you had to go through so much to obtain your own medical records. Thank you for sharing what you learned of patients' rights. Wishing you all the best in your search for new physicians.

    1. Thanks, Anastasia. Luckily, I can laugh about it.