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Can I amend medical records?

Apr 13, 2013

I am HIV positive and was hit by another car. I have serious injuries after the car accident and may want to sue the old lady driver who hit me as she was at fault - not me.

I told the ER that i went to after accident that I was HIV poz when they asked about my medical history. I do not want anyone else to know my status. If i sue can the hospital amend the medical records so that my hiv info is omitted? it really is not relevant to the car accident or my current injuries because of the accident. i asked the hospital to take the reference out but they said they cannot do that. Thanks.

Response from Ms. Douaihy

Dear writer,

I am sorry to hear about your accident and encourage you to talk to an attorney about the possibility of a civil liability claim against the other driver.

Because you volunteered honest and factual information about your medical history when you were in the ER, is unlikely that the hospital will amend your medical records to conceal mention of your HIV status. But know that any entity that receives your HIV-related information pursuant to your written authorization form is bound by law to maintain your confidentiality. So if you execute a release form with an attorney you consult with, for example, they cannot disclose or otherwise re-release your confidential information without your informed (written) consent.

If you decide to pursue litigation, you should know that court records are generally made available to the public. Therefore, if you go forward with a lawsuit, your attorney may be able to make a motion to the court to redact or seal any mention of your HIV related information. Where a court grants an order sealing or redacting records, the public would not be able to see that confidential information covered by the order. States differ on the standards for sealing and redacting records so please consult with an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction for more information. I wish you all the best.

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