Medical Records

This year will be Year 20 for me.  20 years since I sat in the emergency room being told I had something called “Diabetes”.  All I knew about it at the time was that I couldn’t have sugar (yes I know now that that is not true 😉  )   I had been feeling “bad” for about 6 months prior to that day.  Had taken a couple of trips and was sluggish, sick to my stomach, thirsty .. all of the above.

A few months ago, I decided to try to get copies of my medical records from that hospital stay. Thought it might be “interesting” to see what my numbers were. My BG and my A1C, etc.   I seem to recall my BG being 426 but that could totally be off and be a figment of my imagination.

So a few months ago, I started calling the hospital where I was admitted. For weeks I tried and could never talk to a live person. Then someone returned my call.  Finally!  Only to tell me that they purge records after ten years. WHAT?!?!   I had no idea 😦    I asked the lady on the othe end of the phone why they wouldn’t archive them to digital or something, instead of just purging them?  This IS the 21st century after all.  (Don’t worry – if you know me at all, you know that I am an overly nice person – sometimes annoyingly so – so I was not rude to her at all.)

My dr that admitted me… he also has retired and my records have been purged in his office as well. 😦

So it appears I’m out of options. Unless anyone has any other suggestions?  I would also like to have the copies so when I’m eligible for my medal, I have them 😉

I had my first stint in DKA in my college town where I was living at the time, 6 years after my dx … and they do still have my records. So I’ve requested those. But it won’t be the “good” stuff.  Just how sick was I on October 17, 1992?  I may never know now.

Lesson learned:  After a hospital stay, always ask for copies of your records. You never know when you might need/want them down the road.


About Shannon

I am a wife, a mommy, and a Type 1 diabetic (since '92.) I have had two successful pregnancies - one of which was with twins. I wear an insulin pump- - off and on for 17 years; currently on the Medtronic pump and CGM. I am not a medical professional, nor am I giving medical advice. I am just sharing my day to day stories of someone who lives with this disease every day. My ultimate goal is to raise awareness.
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12 Responses to Medical Records

  1. This is a great story, well told. Might the insurance company have some, if not all, of the info?

    • Shannon says:

      That is a good question. I had not thought of that! I was on my mom’s insurance at the time .. but she may be able to do a little digging and come up with something? I am not sure how long they retain their records, or what they may have.. but it’s worth a shot – thank you!

  2. Sara says:

    Hmm… I was diagnosed a little over 9 years ago. Maybe I should ask for my records before it’s too late.

  3. I’m actually looking into getting my admitting documents from last summer. I have the copy of the urinalysis results that found my DKA and now that I know more, when I look at it, I’m just amaze by how bad I was then and how much better I am now!

  4. Scott E says:

    I called up St. Peters Medical Center last week to ask for a copy of my records (your search kind of inspired me). After a bit of getting bounced around from hospital department to hospital department, I eventually found a necessary form on the website that I had to fill out and fax in. We’ll see what happens. If it doesn’t work, I’ll next go to my old Pediatrician’s office.

    It’s nice to see that my old pediatric endo is still doing what he loves to do at the same hospital — 31 years later.

  5. Karen says:

    I feel your pain. A few years ago I tried to get my records, but they are long gone. 😦 I was diagnosed in 1979, so I guess it’s no surprise. But I always regret that I’ll never know all that stuff like my exact diagnosis date and my blood sugar when I was admitted. I’m sure it was unbelievably high, because I was extremely close to a diabetic coma.

    • Shannon says:

      It sucks to not be able to get information on yourself, doesn’t it? I have been very bummed about it, too. But nothing we can do. My mom has tried to track down the insurance company we had at the time, too, but no luck there, either. :/

  6. First, every state has its own rules for how long medical records have to be kept. In New York it’s only 7 years, but in Texas it’s 20 years. So, some folks still have a chance, while others will unfortunately miss out.

    Second, I’ve been diagnosed as diabetic since 1997, and it will actually be 15 years come September, though I knew something was wrong a little earlier than that. And I remember my first number, which was only 278, which sounds strange but I’ve had many higher numbers since then, though luckily not all that often. I hope you’ve done better since you found out.

    • Shannon says:

      I’m in Texas and it seems to depend on the hospitals. The one I was admitted to after my dx purges after 10 years. But the one I was admitted to for my first stint in DKA was 15 years ago and they still have my records. Strange.

      • That is strange. I got the 20 year figure because when I was working at this one hospital we got a request for records that were 13 years old, and when I told them we only kept records for 7 years the person was stunned, saying in Texas it’s supposed to be 20 years. Of course, there might be different rules for hospitals than there are for physicians there.

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