As a lawyer I receive many calls from clients who have lost a loved one as a result of an accident or possibly medical negligence. In order to properly analyze whether there is a viable lawsuit, it is necessary to review the relevant medical records. Generally after someone passes away, the only individuals who have the power to act on behalf of a decedent are the personal representatives, administrators or executors who apply to the Register of Wills and are approved to act on behalf of the decedent.
There is an exception however with regard to obtaining medical records which can be found in 28 Pa. Code Sec. 115.29 which reads as follows:
“Upon the death of a patient, the hospital shall provide, upon request, to the executor or, in the abscence of an executor, the next of kin responsible for disposition of the remains, access to all medical records of the deceased patient.”
As a result of this statute, the family of a decedent who wishes to investigate the viability of a lawsuit, and needs the medical records to do so, can obtain the records without filing a formal request with the Register of Wills.