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“They refuse to change the information in my medical portal,” someone wrote on Facebook.

I’ve followed this person a long time and I know she’s level-headed and sane. Her doctor prescribed drugs for cholesterol and other conditions.  She went home and looked them up. Sure enough, they all came with significant side effects.

She declined the drugs and doesn’t want them on her record. She also wants them to remove notes saying they’d discussed side effects with her, because they hadn’t.

Seems reasonable, doesn’t it? But she’s meeting resistance. Doctors don’t like to change records and. the EHRs aren’t set up to make corrections easy.

I run into this all the time myself.   I decline tests and treatments a lot. I’ve never done screenings. I am approaching an ancient age in good health, which totally drives them crazy, since we’re all supposed to die if we don’t get screened regularly got all kinds of diseases.

So they get their revenge by writing snark in my portal.

One doctor wrote a long narrative in my portal saying they’d advised me about the consequences of declining a test. It was obviously standard boilerplate CYA language they’d cut and pasted into my records.

The truth was, they hadn’t said a word. They couldn’t. It would have taken them at least an hour to discuss it with me, which is an hour they don’t have.

I’m fine with this.  I really don’t want to spend an hour listening to warnings I’m not going to heed. I also know how to read a medical journal and most of these warnings aren’t worth the pixels they’re occupying.

I’ve gotten used to snarky notes in my portal saying, “She declined this option because she said she did her own research.”

That’s fine with me. I know my primary care doc (who I actually like) can’t say that he agrees with me and thinks the guidelines are a pile of crap.

What I didn’t like was a specialist who put quotes around the word, as in, “She said she did her ‘research.'” I sent her citations from the medical journals and never went back.

You absolutely have to be your own advisor. Doctors don’t have time to dig into the facts behind the guidelines. For instance, the guidelines on osteoporosis were based on activities of the Merck drug company and a late-night session at WHO. See

But apparently, you can’t do anything to correct your medical records. I ran across the law in Pennsylvania,</a> but suspect it’s the same everywhere. You can request the option to add something to the record. You don’t have the right to have anything removed. This provision seems applicable to diagnosis. I couldn’t find anything related to fictitious CYA claims.

This article in MedPage Today explains that the process of correcting medical records is arduous and unclear.
As far as I’m concerned, it’s yet another reason to stay away from doctors and decline all but the most essential tests and procedures.

My blood pressure goes sky-high after I’ve been waiting in a noisy waiting room and dealing with rude techs. Most medical offices do not follow the correct procedures for blood pressure measurement. I’d rather see a snarky note about refusing a procedure than a list of misleading numbers.

It could be worse. I read somewhere about a woman whose medical records refer to an imaginary operation at a leading West Coast medical center.