Cases of Altered or Falsified Hospital Records
Posted in Medical Malpractice on November 8, 2021
If you plan on filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against your doctor, you may wonder if your medical records will be safe. These documents will serve as important pieces of evidence in your claim, and you may worry whether your doctor will alter or tamper with your records before you can obtain them for evidence.
It is highly illegal for a medical professional to alter or falsify medical records. If you believe that your doctor committed this action, it is important to speak to a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.
Missouri Laws Against Altering Medical Records
Under Missouri law, physicians must maintain an adequate and complete record for each patient. Doctors must maintain these records for a minimum of seven years from the date of the last service that the patient received.
If a physician wants to make a correction, addition, or change more than 48 hours after the record is completed, he or she must follow strict procedures. The doctor will need to clearly mark and identify the alteration as such, including the date, time, and name of the person making the correction. The physician must also note the addition or change made, as well as its justification.
Doctors who deviate from these rules and alter, falsify, or tamper with patient records illegally could face significant consequences. The doctor may face fines and jail time due to his or her actions.
What to Do If You Suspect That Your Doctor Falsifies Medical Records
If you believe that your physician tampered with your medical records, it is important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible. A medical malpractice lawyer can help you understand your legal options and hold the medical professional accountable for his or her actions.
For example, if the physician tampered with your records because you are filing a lawsuit against him or her, you can bring the records to your lawyer. Your attorney can evaluate the records and consult with expert medical witnesses to identify potential discrepancies. Your lawyer can also help you initiate a complaint against the at-fault provider and recover your correct records.
Can You File a Lawsuit Over Altered Hospital Records?
Falsification of medical records often results in additional criminal and civil penalties for the physician. However, you may also wonder if this act could yield a lawsuit on its own. You could file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the physician for falsifying medical records only if you suffered an injury due to these actions.
For example, say that you visit the doctor for symptoms of cancer. After conducting a diagnostic test, the doctor realized that he or she performed the test incorrectly. To hide his or her mistake, the doctor alters the medical record and passes another patient’s results as your own.
A few months later, you visit another doctor and receive a second test after you continue to experience symptoms. The second doctor correctly diagnoses your cancer, which has worsened. You now require more intensive medical treatment than you would have needed previously.
In this situation, the doctor’s actions prevented you from receiving correct treatment and caused your condition to worsen without care. You could file a lawsuit against him or her to recover compensation for the injuries you suffered.
As soon as possible following the malpractice, contact an attorney to discuss your legal options. A Kansas City medical malpractice lawyer can evaluate your case and help you identify your optimal path to maximum compensation.