Medical records requests after death in France - on holiday

Good afternoon

I am after some help from people who might know the system in France. Any guidance would be very gratefully received. I used to work in the NHS so know how to access full medical records here under a Freedom of Information request but we are drawing a blank with the French hospital involved.

Briefly my mother died this summer en route to her holiday following a very sudden and unexpected turn of events. She had a myocardial infarct and subsequent bypass graft surgery and died of complications 10 days later> on the Sunday discussions had been for discharge to rehab and by Tuesday she had been back to theatre twice and died on the Tuesday morning.

I was a physio and work on ITU for 2 years dealing reguallary with post op cardiac patients, my sister is GP and my other sister teaches A level French - so we were quite on the case.

WE want to be able to go through her medical records day by day to understand the events that lead to her death - not for any reason beyond needing to understand what happened and the cause of death the French noted does not match up with her post mortem performed here. In th UK you can access this through PALS - Patient Advice and LIason Service- and a talk through with a doctor is quite normal.

As we can’t come to France to do this we need her records so we can do it with someone here. And we need ALL of her records. We have only been provided with basics for about 20% of her stay - op notes, X-rays / scans etc but none of the ward round notes, nursing notes, blood test results etc that we had specifically asked for in our initial contact with the, And we were v clear about what we needed.

Any help would be v gratefully received. Kind regards

I honestly think you won’t be granted any of her french records. You may have to consult a french lawyer about the legalities and get them to apply for it. France is different to the UK where deaths, post mortems and other paperwork is concerned and I have experience of it.

Shiba - thank you for your reply. I will try the consulate again and see if they can assist. They did imply previously that records should be available.
Was your experience living in France?

When you made the request was it couched as being according to the décret (link attached) and sent registered post to the head of each establishments concerned? And you have to give a reason to have them and agree to pay for registered post back to you. I would have another go before you spend money on lawyers.

(pour connaître les causes de la mort, défendre la mémoire du défunt ou faire valoir des droits)


Thank you Jane. I will put that all in to google translate and have a read through. Initial enquires were made at the hospital just after mum died, and dad signed the relevant forms then, helped by the administration offices. Our follow up was a few weeks later on return here via the admin services again. I dindt know ‘how’ to ask or phrase it correctly or quote the relevant legislation. Thank you for your input.

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Of no help with your question but I just wanted to offer my condolences, it sounds so traumatic for you all. :bouquet:


Whoops! I’ve just noticed there is a more recent version that I will try to find for you. But basically all you need is the Décret details to be able to say firmly that in accordance with X I respectfully ask that you provide Y, Z and T in order that I can do A and B

This is probably better. Turn it into a formal letter and make sure you include all the documents they want

Les ayants droit et la communication du dossier médical - APHP DAJDP(art.


Thank you - it has been quite the few months. They have been holidaying in the same place for the last 20 years and were on their normal overnight stop in Beaune when she was taken ill on the way to Mallemort. Just want to understand what happened and talk through it with someone as you can here via PALS. Thank you again.

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Ok -will give that a go. Thank you. I like knowing what to quote as you sound like you know what you are doing and tend to get further - sometimes - fingers crossed.

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My condolences, and welcome, too. Might I suggest that, instead of using Google translate you, if at all possible, enlist the services of your A-Level French sister?

My French is very good but recently I have a little panel pop up on my screen offering to translate the page I am on. Just for fun I occasionally accept and, though often correct, there are sometimes some laughable mistakes. :grinning:

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