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Illinois civil court judge should not have ordered medical record

Proving a civil case after an injury or illness in a hospital is not so dissimilar from proving a criminal case after a suspected violation of law. The plaintiff, like the prosecution, must prove the connection of liability between the defendant and the supposed wrongdoing. This can be proof that someone did something wrong or proof that they should have acted to stop something going wrong.

In all cases, one of the most important parts of the case is evidence. When a doctor may be to blame for a medical error while a patient was under care, the evidence often includes medical records. These records can show a patient's condition before a doctor's intervention and the likelihood that he or she was involved in the problem in question.

But evidence may be protected if it includes personal medical information, and most of those sorts of records can only be released with the permission of the recorded patient. Recently, an appeals court determined that a Chicago judge improperly demanded these records from a patient's father, even though he was the plaintiff in a civil suit against a regional hospital.

The original decision landed the plaintiff's lawyer in some trouble as he politely declined the judge's order, as that made him guilty of contempt of court. The case in question involved the plaintiff's daughter, who had suffered a spinal fluid at a surgery site. The plaintiff submitted a doctor's report but not the full medical records, as they contained protected information about mental health.

When details about evidence and procedure become overwhelming, it's time to call a lawyer. Legal representation may make it more likely that a civil suit for medical errors is successful, getting a family the financial help they need.

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