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Ann Wheeler

Does His Family Have Rights To Death Certificate/medical Records

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I have been asked to turn over my husband's deathceritficate/medical records over to his two sisters.whom he was never clsoe to ,only saw/spoke them once or twice a year at family get togethers over the holidays, otherwise never heard from them unless they wanted something.

now all of a sudden i've been geting concerned calls from them since his funeral.. ,also which led to wanting his death certtificate/medical records.

background

at the timeof my husbands' death, one SIL who is nurse, thinks she knows all, wellshe wasn't at the hospital , nor does she work there, she isn't a surgical nurse,she only worked in pedicatics now does homecare.for the elderly she lives downstate.She only got info from her Sister S who was there.

okay that night was anightmare, at the time we were in shock, ect. we decide we would talk with them at later date.

Well next day SIL nurse started asking questions grilling me &BIL, well she went on that something went wrong either mechanical or the doctors made a mistake ,they shouldahve doen this or that, um how would she knwo,she wasn'there in the surgical room..she want s to get to the bottomof it ,she sjut knows they couldahve doensomtign different to bring him back ect....I"m thinking WTH.

well ever since she and her sister S have been bugging me or his death certificate, medical records i gave them the info. cause of death heart failure time of death.period, they didn't need it.the cerificate. Serioulsy what else did they think would be on it.

Not only that they bugged me about making the appt, with the doctor ,tod sicuss what happened, right at the time when Rose mydaughter was hospitalized, with heart failure a week later after the funeral . Well then thyey tried another tactic, we need the medical records,death certificate for family medical history, um they know family medical history,they have known heart problems have existed.

I told them if anyone is tobe blame it was thier borther ,my husband, he seldom went tothe doctor inthe 31 years we have been married.. I told them he was having problems about 2 years ago,refused tos ee adoctor, this past yearmade an appt, toldhim hewas going, still he fought me tooth and nail on it.

I told them his heart was probably in worse shape than what he told me, which bythe way yes it was.

So had the meeting with the doctors,yes i made thepoint looked right a the one SIL S,and aksed the doctor , wa s it possible he could have had a heart attack at any time, the doctor confirmed it, yes more of risk while his doing his job...

reason my husband quit working..

then i asked the doctor ,if this was going for years, he said yes , it doesn't happen overnight, a lot of the time people aren't aware they have problem with thier heart, when they have pain , at first inother words aren't aware of the signals until it is almost too late. then he explained aboutthe bypassmachine ect.okay now hoping SIL S got it through her head,everything humanly possible was done to bring him back wasnt to be,due to his heart was to weak..

well now. another tactic...all of a sudden SIL nurse ahd SIL S called me,tell me it was vital for nurse SIL to have those recored she is concerned about her heart,made an appt ,with her doctor, and guess where the same place where my husband went.

funny NurseSIL , had bypass downstate where she lives over a year ago,Quite a coindence she made an appt at he same place where my husand went, she needed those records the same week to take with her have her doctor look them over to see if she if she would have the same problem I told her, there isn't anything i can do on this short notice, i have things going with Rose right now. i just can't bother with it.

wellthen just give us his SSN ,nurse SIL can go the medical records get them.

Oh really?I thought i would call find out...I didn't think she could...

Itold her i will call her back later I had to go.

seriously did i fall from a turnip truck.

I called the hospital, asked them about the SSN,etc.I was right no way she could go in the medical records get that info with just his SSN, they also would need an ID,plus my written authorization.to release them to other family members which they didn'thave yet.

I asked for the diagonoses which would be on the records anyway, ,

I call SIL back, gave her the info onthe diagonoisis, told her that nurse SIL should get the info from her doctor regarding those, for her health concerns..

I outsmarted them..they didn't like it.Well i have received anothe call, again with concern about me.which led asking about my fincial situation.I told them ti's fine no need to worry about it,then they asked a how much my husband's rigs,truck equpment is worth.I told i didn't knwo yet needs to go through probate first. i doubt they will be worth much.they are old...

then asked me about thefarm, mortage,etc. I told her the farm was fine don't worryabout it.

okay what are theyup too now i wonder.

i called BIL.He told me they were fishing for info they want to file a wrongful death suite.

how can they? I should be the one to file if I hoose to do so..which i'm not.

1.very hard to prove

2.all assets would be frozen

3.finacailly lawyers 's fees would wipe me out, lose the farm..

4. could take years to settle.

not worth it plus i know deep down his hart was weaker,worse than thought, He never went to the doctor for yearly physicals, he knew the risks going into surgery which were high.

get this when i gave the diagonoisis to SIL S who was at th meeting. told her what thecause of death was, heart failure.

she asked me then what did they mean by heart failure? um..she was at the meeting.

I explained to her, simple his heart was dead, due to failure to thrive when they remove the bypass unit.

i know they are entitled to the cause ofdeath,and the diogonois for family meidal history, which is what i gave willingly., I don't think they are entitled to the death cetificate or medical records. sorry so long,.this is the drama i'm dealing with..

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First of all, I am so sorry for your lose. It's amazing how strong a woman you are. I pray you have the strangth to contine to go forward. I know the days , months and years ahead are going to very hard. I'll keep you in my heart and thoughts [Angel] [Huggy]

The answer to your question is no.

You are his wife and you are the only person intitled to any information. Don't give in to them fishing around if you don't want to give them anymore informatin then is required.

You have already handled their health concern question, they need to drop it and let you process your grief.

Simple NO. They can not get the heath information they want from you at this time.

If they continue to ask, tell them when it becomes public record they can get a copy from the courthouse.

If they continue to ask about your finances tell them you are okay, you don't need their help but if they would like to pay the light bill or phone bill you can give them that information.(that should shut them up)

If they continue to badger you, tell them YOU have to deal with a lot more now and don't have time to repeat your answers.

Oh hon, you can try to simply not answer their calls [Huggy]

I'm praying for you [Angel] Hang in there.

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The answer is No. Now I'll go back and read.

OK, went back and read all that. Question, did I read that correctly you made an appointment with your DH's Dr so his Sisters could talk to him?

Do you have caller ID? If not get it, and don't be answering their calls. It is fine to ask if you are OK and do you need anything, anything other than that is . NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS. PERIOD.

Edited by Becaco

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Not their business, not their right. Based on what you've told us, there is no basis for a wrongful death suit anyway, although if they initiated one (dunno if they CAN) the court would subpoena the medical records at some point.

These ladies need you to tell them that no, they may not have the documents they are asking for, and that while you know they are grieving too, and you appreciate their concerns, you are satisfied with the treatment your husband received and plan to take no further action.

I'm so sorry you ave to deal with this, too! enough is enough!!

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In any state of which I'm aware you, as the surviving spouse, own the body of your deceased and any records of treatment. You have the sole right to determine the type of memorial service, interment, monument, etc. If there is to be any type of memorial service, monument, etc.

The records are also yours and you get to tell people what's in them; or not. The cause of death as stated on the Death Certificate is public record.

If there were a will directing some specific disposition of property, type of funeral, etc. then there might be some question. In the absence of a will, or other specific direction from the deceased, the decisions are all yours.

You get to decide how you deal with family. You tell them what they want to know, tell them to "kiss off," or something inbetween. This is a personal, not a legal, decision.

Sorry to hear of your loss.

G.

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yes the reason i made teh appt, with the surgeon to explain what happenedi n surgery, friomy benefit and caili's... being his brother ,my favorite- in-law and the one SIL not so favorite in law.were present a the time of his surgery ,his death. I thought it was right that they should be in the discussion,for he was thier brother they had the right to know what happened, then perhaps the one SIL and nurse SIL would drop it once they got the info, Nothing else could be done..Alas it didn't quiet them. It didnd't now Nurse Sil thinks the doctor lied, stillwants the medical records, and wants an sutospy doen, she was in ragethat i didn't request one, she went on how they have to it is required by state when a death occurs,if i don't request one.. well i checked... Nope, it is the medical examiner who makes that call, if he/she thought it was fishy the medical examiner felt it wasn't necessary to do one on my husband,neither did i we knew it was his heart.. He wouldn't have wanted it,i know he didn't.. I know he wouldn't want me to sue.

what is done is done it won't bring him back.. I respect his wishes.His Brother does. certainly not the sisters.

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My brother just died recently. So i definitely know the answer to this. It is no...absloutely no. The only folks you would have to work this out with is his kids...next of kin folks have the certain rights. Wife and kids and down the line...in absense of kids ....g-kids....absense of g-kids...neices/nephews. Only down the line folks are considered. In some states, wife trumps all if she chooses to. Here in La. "napoleonic law' is firm....but never does consider siblings or the siblings in law unless there is just noone else to consider.

In my case....if the (ahem) "lovely" piece of work that my brother married wanted a funeral service and his remains handled....she had to cough up the things we asked for...or she would have her debts with my mom and other brother in court to the tune of 20,000 and she would have had to pay for his services. So she was at our mercy...and caused no fuss. But we still had to talk to her for the items we wanted...b/c, ultimately, she had the rights on it.

If I, or even my mom ( his own mother), had these rights, she would have heard quite a few mouthfuls of choice words from the family...there were folks standing in line to rain them down on her butt. But there was a "let it alone...and let's just get this over with " feeling in the air...and everyone remained mainly well behaved."

Edited by teampenninglady123

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If they continue to ask about your finances tell them you are okay, you don't need their help but if they would like to pay the light bill or phone bill you can give them that information.(that should shut them up)

LOVE this! *LOL* Great idea!

Some people grieve by looking for someone to blame. I'm sorry they are bothering you with this. They should leave you alone so you can deal with your own grief instead of having to deal with their drama.

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Ann - if they are planning on building a wrongful death suit with this information they will be able to get the information via a subpeona and they will have to pay an attorney to file with the courts to get the subpeona. Money out of thier pockets, not yours. I do not see any attorney taking this on a contingency basis without having some facts (i.e. medical records) in front of them to see if there even is a case to be won, so let them spend thier oney on getting the attorney if they want but from what you have posted, it does not seem like they would win if they did sue.

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I don't think they will either when it comes right down to it, i think the lawyers fees,will stop them in thier tracks.....they wouldn't want thier pockets empty.

My BIL said let them find out on thier own. which I will.. MY BIL knows his sisters, he told me right off, don't let them ride rough shod over you,... He was agreat help with rose, etc.the sistersnever lifted finger to help out.. which was find by me. I really didn't want them round my place..

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You need to tell your husband's sisters to stop bugging for this information and they have no right to file a wrongful death claim. They need to leave this issue alone so that you can heal. If they continue to badger you then you need to go see a lawyer & have the attorney write them a cease and desist letter. If that doesn't work you need look into getting a restraining order against these women. They are harassing you and they have no right.

Sorry, this came off as a really bossy post. I guess I should have worded it more of a "if I were in your shoes this is what I would do". I don't mean to come of as pushy and telling you what you should do, I just get really annoyed with people that stick their noses in where they have no business. Good luck to you in dealing with these broads, I can't imagine how the crap they are dealing you is compounding your grief. [Huggy]

Edited by willrodeo4food

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Ann, I'm sorry you're dealing with this. Unfortunately, a whole lot of crazy often comes out in families surrounding a death.

I doubt they are seriously ill intentioned. They're just trying to "do something". They probably also have a lot of guilt over not being close to their brother. And well, they probably see $$.

You know you're not obligated to release any of the information. The question is more "What to do with these women?"

I might just draw a line in the sand and tell them flat out: "Look, I realize you ladies lost your brother. And I am sorry for your loss. But you're acting like a couple of vultures. I lost my husband. My kids lost their father. It's hard enough to deal with that. I don't need to also have to deal with you. So stop. You're not getting any records from me. I won't sign anything. This is the last time I am going to talk about it. Enough. If you cared about your brother then respect our family during this difficult time. That's what he would've wanted."

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There is no doubt that a desire for money at the root of their requests.

How utterly cold and unfeeling that they would be hounding you.

I'm glad BIL is in your corner.............all else need to be told NO - and that you will not talk about it any further. And don't. ANY dialogue at all is going to encourage futher discussion.

And it's not open for discussion from what you have posted.

Gaaah !

People !

((hugs)) to you Anne...................

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I might just draw a line in the sand and tell them flat out: "Look, I realize you ladies lost your brother. And I am sorry for your loss. But you're acting like a couple of vultures. I lost my husband. My kids lost their father. It's hard enough to deal with that. I don't need to also have to deal with you. So stop. You're not getting any records from me. I won't sign anything. This is the last time I am going to talk about it. Enough. If you cared about your brother then respect our family during this difficult time. That's what he would've wanted."

This is exactly what I would say. I know they are family, but its time to be firm with them. You can do it Ann, you don't need the added stress of these nitwits. [Huggy]

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Gah. I'm sorry, Ann.

I agree that this is probably about them trying to grieve. Anger and denial/disbelief are common. My sister, who was a nurse, had a lot of trouble with the way one of my mom's doctors handled her case. It was like things were harder for somehow her since she was in the profession and knew some of the insider info.

However, you don't need to deal with it. I'd firmly tell them you don't plan to share the records and will not be discussing your finances with them; it's private. Then don't talk to them if you don't want to. If you choose to answer the phone when they call, just reiterate: No to the records, no to money talk. When they push and ask why, you can just tell them that's how you feel. Then excuse yourself and get off the phone. (Or whatever else feels comfortable.) As your BIL said, don't let them steamroll you. You are not obligated to give them anything.

You need to tell your husband's sisters to stop bugging for this information and they have no right to file a wrongful death claim.
I wouldn't even get into all this. It's inviting more drama. Just cut them off if that's what feels right.

Ann, I'm sorry you're dealing with this. Unfortunately, a whole lot of crazy often comes out in families surrounding a death.

I doubt they are seriously ill intentioned. They're just trying to "do something". They probably also have a lot of guilt over not being close to their brother. And well, they probably see $$.

[Not Worthy]

I might just draw a line in the sand and tell them flat out: "Look, I realize you ladies lost your brother. And I am sorry for your loss. But you're acting like a couple of vultures. I lost my husband. My kids lost their father. It's hard enough to deal with that. I don't need to also have to deal with you. So stop. You're not getting any records from me. I won't sign anything. This is the last time I am going to talk about it. Enough. If you cared about your brother then respect our family during this difficult time. That's what he would've wanted."
I'd leave out the vulture comment (I'm rather fond of vultures and don't like them maligned :winking: ), but I agree with the rest. Edited by Kina Kat

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I feel the same way about them feeling guilty...

last phone call i ended very short, hope they will back off, yes i will tell them to back-off enough is enough.

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Ann, So sorry for your loss and the complications that are presented by these "people." I won't insult vultures...they are useful birds.

These relatives serve no useful purpose at all. You've been MORE than kind to them and you've gotten great advice here. Personally, I think they are fishing to see if there is any $$ coming their way.

I'm sure your husband would have had an opinion. I'd be guided by how you think he would have reacted if he were here to witness their behavior. Every time you think about accomodating them, think how he would feel about them harassing you! There's no concern for you on their part and they've been obnoxious. I wouldn't give their concerns another thought and I wouldn't give them another minute of my time. A death in the family can bring out the best in relatives and the worst. In their case...the worst. You have enough to deal with without dealing with them.

Thank goodness you have a decent, helpful BIL. The rest of the crew sounds atrocious! [shocked]

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Ann...I just wanted you to know that I did not imply you to be considered even in the same ballpark as my former ( thank goodness) SIL.

The situation was reversed and she was the blood sucking pig like the sisters you are dealing with....but the answer to your question was revealed to me b/c ...roles reversed...the answer was the same.

No...sisters cannot trump wife. Mom and Dad can't either. If there is napoleonic law in your state...then your kids are by law the only ones who can force you to divvy up any property, monies...or take you to court if there is a war in those ranks....so the SIL's are flapping their wings and clucking.

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TPL, I think Louisiana is the only state in the Union that bases it's civil law on the Napoleonic Code. It's a hangover from the Louisiana Purchase. Louisiana was civilized and using French law, the rest of the area was wilderness. Still, I think in most states Wives trump ANY other relative.

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Death certificates are a matter of public record. If they want the death certificate they can request a copy from your Bureau of Vital Statistics.

Medical records are confidential under HIPPA and there are pretty stiff penalties for violating those laws. You, as next of kin, are the only person who is entitled to view you husband's medical records with the possible exception of your husband's insurance company. Even then, you will probably have to sign a release.

All I can say is, bless your heart, you have had a terrible time lately with your husband's death and your daughter's problems. Relatives should be trying to make things easier for you, not harder.

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scspots... that is correct...which makes Ann's question all more in her favor. Even if it were in her state...she still won't have to battle with the SIL's...only her kids.

So it is a win-win right?

[Huggy]

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If a person dies without a will, in general, the wife is entitled to a share, called a dower interest and the children, if any, split the rest. The way the property is held also bears on this, whether they were tenants in common or joint tenants with a right of survivorship. Bear in mind I took the bar in 1983 and haven't done much property law since then so my memory isn't all that accurate. Except for Louisiana, most real property law is based on English common law and can be rather arcane.

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Death certificates are a matter of public record. If they want the death certificate they can request a copy from your Bureau of Vital Statistics.

Yes. DC's are public record and anyone can order a copy. Coincidentally, autopsies are public record as well.

But medical records they would need a subpoena for.

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My HC time is so limited but I wanted to reply to you, Ann [Huggy]

If they want a copy of the Death Certificate, they can request (and pay for) their own from the County Recorder. Do NOT give up a certified copy that you paid for.

If they want medical records and are concerned about their own health or his care, they should hire an attorney and subpoena the records. The ones you possess are yours. You have no obligation to copy them (if you even have them all) for them.

Adding some [Huggy] This is a lot for you to handle. Do you have an attorney to consult? If not, there could be free legal aid in your area. Call your local Courthouse.

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