The N.C. Medical Board has some advice for patients caught in this situation.
Jean Fisher-Brinkley, spokeswoman for the board, said patients trying to get their records from a former physician who has passed away can go through the clerk of court’s office where the physician lived and died. There, they can find out the administrator or executor of the deceased physician.
“The patient should then contact this person and ask what provisions have been made to ensure access to records,” she said.
Fisher-Brinkley added, however, that physicians are not obligated to keep records indefinitely. So if more than six or seven years have passed, the records might have been destroyed already, she said.
She said another route would be to get in touch with the primary care physician who referred them to the specialist.
“Often specialists will provide copies of records to the referring physician to facilitate continuity of care,” she said.
Date posted: August 12, 2010
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