Are You Entitled to Know About Healthcare Providers’ Adverse Medical Incidents?
If you are a patient, then you are entitled to know about your healthcare providers’ adverse medical incidents. This would also apply if you are a legal guardian. The Florida Supreme Court addressed this issue in Ampuero-Martinez, etc., v. Cedars Healthcare Group, etc., et al., Nos. SC11-2208, SC11-2336 (Fla. January 30, 2014).
The victim’s daughter initiated a medical malpractice wrongful death suit, on behalf of her father, after her father died while a patient at a facility operated by the healthcare provider. The daughter then sought records of other adverse medical incidents that the facility had on file. The healthcare facility refused to turn over the documents to the daughter.
Florida has made specific rules for patients’ right to know about adverse medical incidents, which can be found in the Constitution of Florida. Article X, § 25(a), Fla. Const. Amendment 7 provides:
In addition to any other similar rights provided herein or by general law, patients have a right to have access to any records made or received in the course of business by a health care facility or provider relating to any adverse medical incident.
This clearly lets you know that patients will have the right to know and access documents relating to adverse medical incidents from their healthcare providers.
Florida defines a patient as an “individual who has sought, is seeking, is undergoing, or has undergone care or treatment in a health care facility or by a health care provider.” The reason the daughter was able to seek the adverse incident reports was because she was acting as a representative of her father in the wrongful death suit.
Essentially, she “stepped into his shoes” and then had the rights that he did as a patient. As stated earlier, legal guardians (parents, foster parents, guardians ad litem) would also have the right to seek adverse medical incident reports for minors and incapacitated individuals that they care for.
The Florida Supreme Court ultimately ruled that the daughter should have access to the adverse medical incident reports. The ruling marked an important step forward for patients and patients’ representatives in Florida.
If you have questions about adverse medical incident reports, medical malpractice or someone that you are a representative for, then it would be wisest to secure the assistance of an experienced medical malpractice lawyer.
Shapiro Law Group – Medical Malpractice Attorneys Serving the Tampa Bay Area