When someone calls our office with a potential medical malpractice or nursing home abuse case against a Virginia nursing home or hospital, I always tell them we need to review the records.
Often times, families will tell me they know the records were changed, altered, forged etc. and that the records will not reflect what actually happened.
YES – medical records are often altered.
I have seen records with forged signatures of clients.
I have also seen nurses write down care I know they didn’t give. How do I know this? In one instance I saw a nurse document that she checked the pedal pulses of a patient and he had strong pedal pulses in his left and right foot.
Bad news is he had previously undergone an amputation and didn’t have a right foot.
We have also seen nursing homes document wound care for a patient who was no longer in the facility.
So yes, sometimes medical records are changed. We know this – and will still need to evaluate the records first to see if you have a case.
Usually we can tell whether or not records have been altered. In those cases where we miss it, we will evaluate the case on the overall chance of success, and if we cannot prove to a reasonable degree of medical certainty the facility was negligent, we will not recommend filing suit.
Either way, we will need to review records. And sadly, we may be able to prove the records were changed as we prove the facility and or providers were negligent.