Cherry Blossom Finds Secret Medical Records

Artwork: Robin Mead

Cherry Blossom Finds Secret Medical Records

I read all the doctor’s notes and records on my online patient portal. I also read everything they handed me at the doctor’s office, and few times even requested a record from the visit.

I thought that was everything. Boy was I wrong.

When I found this site, I discovered I was only seeing summaries and not my full chart notes or treatment notes.

Soon after, I was visiting a new specialist and I wanted to see what kind of things he was writing about me.

At the second visit, I said to the woman at the front desk, “Could you please give me a copy of the medical records and treatment notes from my last visit?”

She left for fifteen minutes and then came back and handed me a piece of paper and said, “Here’s your records.”

I looked at the paper and saw that it included notes from my doctor plus information on my last visit, but the top said: visit summary.

I said, “No, I want full medical records with all treatment notes.”

She frowned, then left for another ten minutes and came back with several more pieces of paper with a lot more notes from my doctor.

I got soooo much more information about this doctor, what he was writing, and what he actually thought about my condition. It was very interesting and helped me make a good choice about whether this was the right doctor for me.


Dandelion Gets Her Records Without Leaving Her House

I called my doctor’s office and requested my records. They said I had to come in and sign a form. I asked them to mail me the form. When I got the form in the mail, I filled it out and sent it back.

Under reason the records were being requested, I wrote personal reasons. However, I’ve learned since then that if you need them for treatment reasons sometimes they will be free or discounted. Also, if you need them for a disability appeal, sometimes records can be free or discounted.

A month passed and nothing happened. I called five more times. Finally they told me the amount I owed ($50) and I gave them a credit card number over the phone.

Then, one day, like magic, I got a big packet in the mail with all my records! But it only included records from my one doctor, not all the other doctors and tests he had refer me to.

My doctor’s office told me they will not release to me records from other doctors. So, I had to contact each specialist and hospital separately. I also learned that there are special rules for psych and mental health records.

I learned so much from reading my records. I learned which doctors supported me and which did not. I learned who was good at documenting symptoms and who was not. I learned that what the doctor says is not always the same as what the doctor writes. I learned some of the things I had been saying wrong, which confused my doctor or were not clear enough and wound up looking bad in my records.

Thank God I went the extra mile to get my real records. I never would have known.

Azalea Finds Secret Medical Records

I discovered the magic words for getting doctor’s treatment notes.

I went through four different people at my doctor’s office trying to get the notes from my last visit. FOUR!

My doctor’s office is super nice. These are really good people. They literally did not know treatment notes exist. Everyone kept trying to giving me visit summaries. Visit summaries are totally useless.

Ok, here are the magic words:

“Please give me a form I can sign to request release of records”

The last woman was so nice. She just blinked and me and said “But you don’t want us to release your records. You want your own records. That can’t be right.?”

She was also saying… “I don’t understand what you are requesting… Could you write it down for me on a piece of paper?”

I just said “Thank you. Could you please find me that form?”

On the form, where it said who to send the records to, I wrote my own name and address. Then in giant letters I wrote “PLEASE SEND BY MAIL” because I could not come back to pick them up.

A week later, my records arrived in the mail.

Lolly Reads Her Records

I was shocked to find out how bad many doctors are at taking accurate notes. Some said I was a Marine Biologist instead of Archaeologist. Some focused on my dynamic husband rather than my health and my life.

I also learned that records I give a doctor are not safe. Some doctors die or retire suddenly and those records can be shredded, or lost before they are turned over despite how many times you request them.

Doctors by HIPPA laws are not able to turn over medical records of other doctors, even if you were the one to bring them in. Also hospitals are only required to keep records for a few years.

– Lolly Vann

Learn More

How to Collect All Your Medical Records (Keyword: All)

What Do Doctors Write About in Treatment Notes

Tips to Getting Mental Health & Psych Records

Ten Stories That Will Make You Want to Read All Your Medical Records Right Now

Updated July 2018. Please comment below with stories, ideas, questions or suggestions. Please let us know if any links on this page stop working. 

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7 thoughts on “Cherry Blossom Finds Secret Medical Records”

  1. I’ve had CFS for 25 years. Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate this site. I’m sure it is helping many, many folks like us live higher quality lives.


  2. “I learned that what the doctor says is not always the same as what the doctor writes…”
    I am so glad you said that.
    I found this to be true so many times and I still do not know WHY this happens…
    I have even brought people with me to the doc’s office and they confirmed that I heard the right things…

    I am commenting for the purpose of asking…

    “Why do they do this? Why do they tell me one thing, then put something else in the chart?”


    “Is there a way to prevent this that actually works?”


      1. I believe you can ask for your records to be corrected. I think some doctors make mistakes because they don’t listen but some are deceitful–the ones that tell you one thing and write another. I hate when they do this!


    1. According to my attorney, you can only get the same judge twice–it’s the law!
      I thank God for this law because I got stuck with a judge that denies nearly everyone.
      I couldn’t believe he denied me a second time. I thought, certainly he will change his decision because SS asked for my file back for further processing from the District Court because mistakes were made. The District Court also instructed the judge to “consider” my doctor of 17 years’ and the Department of Education’s opinion that I am 100% totally and permanently disabled! My attorney was not surprised went the judge ignored their opinions again; he said this judge NEVER changes his decision.


  3. I can’t have my psych records. I can’t have my current treatment team request my old medical records and send them to ODAR as part of my file. My useless lawyer hasn’t even requested my current records. ODAR is extremely hostile. My psychiatrist refused to complete an RFC. I ended up with the same judge I had the first time around — a woman who decided I was malingering (which no one has ever in my 20+ years of treatment has ever accused me of doing) based on the fact that the local clinic checks off “well groomed” for everybody and SSA’s own C.E. noted my hair looked messy. This, according to Judge Genius, was an attempt to make myself look sicker.

    I have extremely long hair. When I’m severely depressed, it gets tangled and matted to the point where I end up having to cut chunks out. However, because it’s so long, I can pull it back into a bun and no one’s the wiser. On the day I met with the C.E., my hair was actually clean. It just looked messy because it wasn’t dry. This was just one of many of Judge Sit-n-Squirm’s ridiculous conclusions. How is it that out of 15 judges, I end up with her again?

    The system is rigged. Everything is against me (my lawyer is aggressive and rude, but nobody else would take the case), and I feel like giving up.

    Liked by 1 person

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