SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A state worker, in pain every day, says she can’t get a much needed operation, because her doctor refuses to hand over her own medical records. After eight months of waiting, it was time to call Kurtis Ming.
Under California law, you have a right to your own medical file. So why won’t her former OB/GYN turn them over? And what can happen if she doesn’t?
“I have difficulty walking… My girlfriend gave me a cane,” says Stephanie Small.
There are good days and bad days for Stephanie. On the day we met her, it was a bad one.
“It’s pretty painful. Its pelvic pain, pain down my leg,” says Stephanie.
The pain is physical, from her endometriosis, but also mental; from the way she says her doctor has treated her. She says Dr. Glenda Goodwin refuses to hand over her medical records, which she needs in order to have surgery.
“I don’t think anybody should have to go through what I went through,” says Stephanie.
Stephanie says Dr. Goodwin has ignored her repeated requests for her own records. Goodwin started treating Stephanie last year.
“She immediately knew, you have endometriosis,” recalls Stephanie.
Endometriosis is a disease in which the uterine lining spreads to other organs of the body, where it shouldn’t be. Stephanie says Dr. Goodwin performed surgery.
“She did tell me I had the worst case she’s ever seen,” says Stephanie.
She needs another surgery, but says Dr. Goodwin became unresponsive, forcing her to go to another doctor. But she says no one will perform the procedure without seeing her file.
“They do have a right to get a copy or inspect their medical records,” says Jennifer Simoes, Spokesperson for the Medical Board of California.
Simoes says it’s the law; a doctor could charge you to print copies, but they have to give them to you within 15 days of your request. Stephanie has been waiting since October.
“In law, in statue, there is a fine on physicians that don’t comply with that. So it’s $1,000 per day, up to $10,000,” says Simoes.
And if the doctor still refuses, he or she could lose their license.
After Dr. Goodwin’s office, Trinity Total Healthcare in Elk Grove, wouldn’t return our calls, our producer went in. Dr. Goodwin’s business partner claimed a software issue is not allowing them to access Stephanie’s records.
So we called the software company and they say they emailed and faxed Dr. Goodwin’s office copies of Stephanie’s file. But as of today Stephanie is still waiting.
“I’m frustrated, I’m ready for surgery. I’m ready to feel better and get my life back and there’s just this one hang-up,” says Stephanie.
The Medical Board says Dr. Goodwin was publicly reprimanded in 2008 for incompetence and negligence in a different case.
Stephanie filed her own complaint with the Board in the fall. She says they also requested her medical records and have yet to receive them. We wanted to know what’s happening with their investigation, but they say they can’t comment.