Is there anyway we can see my father in the hospital if his wife doesn't want us to?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 24, 2016
Spirt seeker asked...

My father is in the hospital and is now under 100 pounds. My brother went to the hospital to see out father and talk with the doctor. On our father's records the only people that can talk with the doctor about his status is his wife and her son who is not a blood relitive. Is there not any wey we can talk with a talk as my fathers wife will not talk with us.


Expert Answers

Jennifer Serafin, N.P. is a registered nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner at the Jewish Homes for the Aged in San Francisco.

In 1996, a law was passed called the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), requiring the strict confidentiality of a patient's health information. When your father was admitted to the hospital, his wife became his decision maker, since he was too ill to communicate his choices. Now, she is in control of all health care decisions and the release of his medical information until he is well enough to do so.

So, at this point, the bottom line is that you cannot get his medical information legally from the hospital or doctors. It is very unfortunate that your stepmother will not share any information with you, but that is her legal right as the decision maker. If you feel that this is an error, you can try to get a lawyer who specializes in health care law to help you, but be forewarned that this will be a long process and very expensive.