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C., consumer advocacy group, says "there is essentially a double standard" when it comes to accessing medical records.
Although there are no statistics on such cases, disputes over medical records often are at the crux of malpractice lawsuits.
"If you are in the medical system, it works perfectly fine.
If it's just the patient who wants the records or the patient's family if the patient died, it's a whole different story." The federal law giving patients and family members access to medical records is the privacy section of the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act.
Pingatore could not find a lawyer to take her case, she says, because she did not have enough documentation until after California's three-year statute of limitations for filing a civil lawsuit had expired.
Lucian Leape, a professor at Harvard's School of Public Health, says the medical culture does not ensure that hospitals are honest with patients.