Medical records

Just back from hospital after a check by the orthopedic surgeon and a row with an administrator. We are supposed to have a complete dossier including copies of x-rays, scans and so on. I most certainly do not. Most of my dossier is lacking precise details from 22 February when I was admitted. I remember things they deny happened, such as having a full anaesthetic and getting to ward with my shoulder dressed after it had been opened. They claim it was local anaesthetic and I had the dislocation put in place. Given the gravity of the fracture that would have been wrong anyway. It is not just me but my OH obviously visited later and knows I had the op. Then I had another on 23 February, etc.

There are 'facts', x-rays, cerebral scans and probably other things clearly missing and the administrator, my OH and I argued over that for half an hour before we gave up and marched out.

Anybody have any suggestion what we should do? The records are clearly not 'available' which suggests something is or was not right. I do not think there is any way of proving that but just sitting back and taking it on the chin is not right. I would say at the same time that most of what the hospital has done is beyond reproach. Simply, this does not seem right.

I know the name problem, Brian. People always assume I'm called William Terence so I always have to tell them to check under T and W.

Thanks, Terry especially, some of what is suggested is done.

Some points though. We were with the administrator outside the surgeon's office, the secretary's room in fact. My 'big' file was there and the lady we went to task with (from the director's department) only had to reach down to get it. Indeed, were we less honest we could have slipped it into our big blue IKEA bag beside it then made a fuss and really got the hospital into trouble.

Following Susan's advice, we have already obtained copies of things I did not receive and paid for them when we found them in the dossier at the hospital. The problem with the first op is that I was delivered in by ambulance sedated, dealt with by 'urgence' people and then went for the op. By then I was well and truly dopey. I signed something, but I remember not what for obvious reasons. Now we were told yesterday that I was given a local and not opened up! Ridiculous because as drugged up as I was, my wife turned up to see me in the afternoon once I had come round and I was full of surgical staples down the front of my shoulder. The complication is going in as an emergency where formalities do get jumbled, overlooked and so on of necessity. So yes, you are right, but...

Mark, my Swiss wife's French is word perfect having spent more than half her life in the Francophone world. I have had a knowledge of the lingo since 1960, including my first OH being a French national who barely spoke English - so not as good as once was but pretty good, so not in the equation there. As for threatening with police, actually legally it is impossible to place a complaint against necessary emergency treatment. We also know the administrator is not herself lying but simply sticking to what she knows, indeed she has already recovered some of the held back x-rays on her own initiative and probably believes us but is powerless. We are not compensation chasing, but when I saw a sports specialist for shoulder reconstruction he said he would require ALL documents, x-rays and so on to see every single thing that happened from my first moment at the hospital. His advice is along the lines of looking to see whether they did right or wrong and what influence that had in the chain of events if we return to him. No docs, etc, I can forget him. I would prefer to have that option open.

Zoe, close. They once misspelled my surname, so that two files suddenly existed. As a result we have already had the administrator searching for Mr Brian and all other permutations.

But, like the answers coming out in the women's health issue, this is already fruitful. Thanks people, but keep it coming.

There we go - somebody who knows what to do!! Hoorah! Sorry I was no help at all, but hope that you will be able to make progress with those suggestions!!

Good luck! :-)

Brian, the mediateur de la republique (ombudsman) now deals with health problems. Three links at random:

Definitely wouldn't accept this as reasonable!! Not sure the best way to tackle it - so I am sorry that I am no help at all. However, I am sure that there is somebody out there who will know the right question to ask, or the right person to ask (or both).

I guess that in some respects the French medical system is no different to any other. If something goes "wrong" then they "circle the wagons" to protect those who may possible be at fault!

Hope that you manage to resolve it, quickly! :-)

Threaten them with the police for gang assault. If they have operated on you and are denying it, then that is several types of assault all at once, in a gang, no less (which is a big one in France, puts ten years on your, sorry, their, jail sentence). Or, if you don't feel like going through the conforntation, say nothing, go down the cop shop and file a complaint. These admin people obviously do not feel they are your friends, so you should be unfriendly back and get what you want. Incidentally, if your French is not very good, this can easily be a factor. A Laotian friend of mine's elderly aunt with, at best, hesitant French was being hassled at the prefecture by some woman behind spittle-proof glass. The 'civil' servant just apppeared to be making it up as she asked for more and more papers each time the poor auntie came back. So my friend accompanied auntie and tore the blasted state minion to shreds in immaculate French, whereupon the dossier was miraculously passed onto the next level. Never underestimate the compensation that a person can feel is their right to leverage on you for their perceived victimisation at the hands of their boss/colleague/husband/lover/ lover's girlfriend/children/bank manager/dog/lover's other girlfriend/goldfish. Random twig.

All the best!

sounds like admin staff are in no position to argue if they cannot file your records properly.

you know my response, Brian, as always, kick up a fuss, and fight tooth and nail. Those records have to be somewhere. My mother once had a letter telling her to go follow up with a doctor as a reult of "abnormal" test results.. when she called up and said she'd not recently had any "tests" done, it all came out in the wash that it was for another lady, different county, differrent date of birth, and surname.. it got mixed up because they are both called "Christine".

Are the hospital filing your records in a big file called "le Anglais".

Are medical records transferred from GP Doctor to GP Doctor if you change etc. Secondly, I HAD an accident and SAMU took me into hospital, had X Rays and then sent home but my then current doctor knew nothing about it.

Hello Rosemary

When we changed GP we had to ask our old GP to send his records to the new one. As far as I know they are not automatically transferred as the old GP has no way of knowing who your new one is unless you tell them

I’ve been to the Urgences a few times and sent home after treatment. I have never been given a letter for my GP and the GP has not been directly informed. The only way they will find out about it is from you.

HI LATE in replying very sorry - so much has been happening - contacted my previous doctors etc and they collected everything and sent it to me and to my new GP. As you say it is the patient who takes charge etc!\

Thank you for your support.


You’re welcome. Pleased you got it sorted out.