How do I obtain the medical records of a deceased family member?

Only the personal representative of the Estate of the deceased individual can authorize request of medical records of the deceased. The personal representative fills a role similar to that of the executor and is the title now commonly used. The personal representative has to be appointed by the Probate Court and bring documentation proving the appointment before records will be released. Please note that power of attorney, durable power of attorney, or designation as decision-maker in an advance directive are no longer valid after the death of the patient. We cannot accept copies of wills or trust documents naming potential personal representatives. They must be formally appointed by the court before we can accept their authority. Releasing records to anyone other than the Personal Representative is illegal, as stated in Michigan Court Law 600.2157. This area of law is open to much interpretation and differing opinions.  We will be glad to review any supplied documentation with War Memorial Hospital’s Risk Management and/or legal counsel.

As a non-custodial parent, can I obtain my child’s records?

Non-custodial parents have an equal right to a child’s medical information, with certain exceptions, as required by law. They can only be denied access if they have been stripped of all parental rights. We must have knowledge of the lack of parental rights to facilitate the denial.

Can I get a copy of my 18-year-old’s records? Or my spouse’s medical records?

According to Michigan law, an 18-year-old is an adult and therefor would have to sign for any release of records unless a legal guardian has been appointed by a court. Spouses may obtain a copy of medical records only if they have an authorization signed by you or your legal representative granting permission for the release of records to a spouse.

I need a copy of my birth certificate. Can you help?

Birth certificates and paternity papers are filed with the county in which you were born and the state in which you were born. Copies of these documents may be obtained from the County Clerk’s office (906) 635-6300 or the State Registrar where you were born. The hospital is not allowed to release copies of birth certificates and a copy is not maintained in the medical record.

How do I address an error in a birth certificate or paternity papers?

We can only make corrections to birth certificates and paternity papers BEFORE these are signed by parent and are sent into the state. Once these papers ae signed and sent to the courthouse, you need to contact the County Clerk’s Office (906) 635-6300 for changes to be made. We only keep birth certificates / paternity papers approximately 1 – 2 weeks at the hospital, before sending to the state.