Thursday, March 6, 2008

Medical Record Request... Now You're Under Arrest!

Mug shot of Dorothy Tillman

Most institutions can be frustrating. We all hate bureaucracy. One of the most frustrating things about hospital care can be the sheer size of the organisation and it's layers of requirements and staff that can sometimes seem to be pretty unfeeling, uncaring, even though it's full of health care providers.

The Chicago Tribune has a story about Dorothy Tillman, a 60 year-old African-American woman who took her 86 year-old aunt to hospital. Frustrated by an overnight stay that she said yielded little treatment, Tillman requested the medical records when her aunt was discharged.

Tillman planned on taking her aunt to a different hospital. After being told the records were not immediately available, she pretty much put her foot down and demanded the records. Hospital security were called by nursing staff, security called the police, Tillman was arrested in the hospital by a policeman kneeling on her spine and threatening to Taser her, and she was subsequently charged with criminal trespassing.


So, we have some itinerant older Black woman making a nuisance of herself demanding medical records from a medical facility.

Trouble is, this isn't any old itinerant Black woman. This is civil rights activist, friend of Martin Luther King Jr., former Chicago City Alderman Dorothy Tillman.

Arrested for requesting medical records.

The hospital spokesman told reporters "medical records must be requested in writing".

I'm sure Ms. Tillman would have written her request down while she waited.

Obviously this is not how most medical record requests are handled, but it makes a larger point:



It's not a favour, it's not an annoyance, figure it out. We want our life-saving health information, we own it, we control it, we want it.

Full story here.


Anonymous said...


CHICAGO,IL . Dorothy Wright Tillman, civil rights activist and author will be returning to her native Alabama for a booksigning and to receive the Freedom Flame Award at the 15th Annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee. The event is a commemoration and celebration of the Selma to Montgomery March, Bloody Sunday, and the Voting Rights Act. Tillman was a teenage SCLC field staff organizer with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and was on Edmund Pettus Bridge on Bloody Sunday.

The 60 year old grandmother was brutalized and arrested in Montgomery last Sunday while requesting medical records for her ailing 86 year old Aunt Mable Barker at Jackson Hospital. The pretious law firm of Gary, Williams, Finney, Watson, & Sperando.P.L will be representing Tillman. Her court date is March 31 at 8:30 am

Contact information

Gary,Williams,Finney Watson, & Sperando,P.L

Raymond said...

What an unfortunate story and situation for this family. It is remarkable in that in this day and age this type of issue continues to pop up. While I understand the need to have the requests in writing (for legal purposes), there must be some happy medium for situations like this.

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