How can I obtain my deceased mother's medical records?

Cherub asked...

My mother passed away two months ago after a month-long hospitalization. She did not fill out any legal paperwork due to not having any assets. My family all knew her medical requests so nothing was ever implemented legally. Now I would like a copy of her medical records, how can I obtain them?




Expert Answer

Carolyn Rosenblatt, R.N. and Attorney is the author of author of The Boomer's Guide to Aging Parents. She has over 40 years of combined experience in her two professions. As a nurse, she has extensive experience with geriatrics, chronic illness, pain management, dementias, disability, family dynamics, and death and dying. As a trial attorney, she advocated for for the rights of injured individuals and neglected elders. She is also co-founder of

You ask about getting your deceased mother's medical records. I am not clear about why you want them, but my experience is that most often, people want a deceased person's medical records because they suspect that something was not right about the care the deceased received. If that is the case, be prepared to pay a fee for the records. They may be quite extensive for a long hospitalization.

You can request records in writing from a hospital's medical records department. Professional photocopy services go into the records department, copy the records and charge you,the requesting party by the page. It can cost hundreds of dollars to copy records for a long hospital stay. Because of confidentiality laws, you will need something to prove that you have the right to see them. If you do not have written permission, seek the advice of an attorney. If your reason for wanting the records is that you think the treatment was below standard, find an attorney who specializes in cases involving what you are worried about. The attorney can request the records for the purpose of investigating a suspected problem with the care if she or he represents the family of the deceased.