ER Refuses to Accept Emailed Medical Records in Life or Death Situation Because of HIPAA


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The university ER refuses to accept a PDF of records sent by email from me despite a possible life or death situation because of HIPAA patient privacy. There is no other way to get complex medical records to them at midnight.

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My patient with CRPS, fibromyalgia, abdominal migraine and history of encephalitis 40 years ago, has been pain free the first time in 40 years. I first saw her eleven months ago. She has allergies to many drugs including Benadryl and severe reactions to even more including lamotrigine and Keppra.

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Last week she began to have onset of epileptic seizures and today has an allergic reaction to her first dose of phenobarbital, a drug she tolerated 40 years ago as all else had failed. She is now very drowsy, speech is slurred. She usually takes only a fraction of the first dose of any drug because she cannot predict the reaction, so may have done that today.

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Even one seizure can kill. They can cause the heart to stop beating, called asystole. They can spread across the brain causing nonstop seizures, electrical storms that can “burn out” the system and kill.

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Her Medications are fairly simple compared to most of my patients. First, no opioids. Opioids cause inflammation and that causes constant pain.

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Ketamine 100mg/mL 0.7 mL SL BID – TID prn

Oxytocin 50 u’s TID

DMSO 50% cream ½ tsp TID

Mg/Guai/Lido 10/10/10  ½ tsp TID

Cannabidiol (CBD) >>> THC  [est 20:1]  soft gel BID

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Despite being 100% pain free recently until today, she is now screaming with generalized pain everywhere which has the doctors perplexed. They need my records. I am not on staff at that hospital. It has its own proprietary encrypted medical records system. And no hospital is able to communicate electronically with any other hospital or doctor because everyone’s system is proprietary and closed. Even with patient permission, the ER will not accept a PDF of her records emailed to them. It is rare for a university ER doctor to call a treating doctor.

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Of interest, ketamine can stop seizures, even seizures caused by organophosphate pesticide poisoning. No other drug can stop those. Not one.

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Doctors only know opioids for pain. Hospital formularies stock ketamine but I’ve never personally seen it used unless I order it.

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HIPAA has great potential to destroy lives.

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During the 2003 wildfire in San Diego that closed the majority of offices all across the city, I was seeing an 85 year old man the first time. He had many complex medical problems that were difficult for him to relate, was taking many medications he could not recall, and just had recent labs done. I could not obtain any of his records or past EKG. That’s when I first learned it is illegal to obtain lab reports from the lab unless you were the doctor who ordered them. Not even a signed release will get them. Every one of his doctors had closed their offices, as had most of the city, because of the wildfire endangering homes, families, businesses, freeways. The air was toxic to breathe and so black you could not see the noon day sun.

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But HIPAA is alive and well. As far as I could determine from speaking to a Deputy Attorney General who was familiar with the law a few years ago, no one had ever been prosecuted for violating HIPAA. But I’m sure people die because of HIPAA.

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Where is the violation if the patient authorizes insecure email of records? Absolutely forbidden! The ER will not consider it. It’s unthinkable. Unthinking.

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The material on this site is for informational purposes only.

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It is not legal for me to provide medical advice without an examination.

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It is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.

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If you wish an appointment, please telephone the office to schedule.

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