Freedom of Information?

As some may know, I am having an interesting time trying to acquire copies of my son’s medical records.  There are a number of places that my son was either treated at or that referred him for care. Amongst those places there are the Ministry of Child and Family Development who saw him for therapy sessions both before and after his hospitalization, 2 separate hospitals that he was an in-patient at, another counselling office (private but receiving government funding) that he saw after his hospitalization and his family doctor who received copies of all treatment records and he was also my first point of contact for help.

So, as is obvious from this list, there are a number of locations that I am seeking records from.  I have been pleasantly surprised by one place by their quick and complete fulfillment of my request.

That’s one out of five if you’re keeping count.

I have, to date, had no response from either hospital…in spite of repeated written requests for his information.

The family doctor, when I asked for his records in March 2012 (in person) told me to wait a month and come back and ask – he felt I was emotional and didn’t “really” want to see his records. I was beyond frustrated but went away and came back exactly one month later and, after much back and forth, was begrudgingly given a copy of his medical records. Copies that I later realized were incomplete. It wasn’t until months later when I remembered a visit with the doctor in January 2012 where he was holding the hospital report and was explaining that he didn’t agree with and I recall him reading from the report…that report wasn’t in the copy of his file that I received from the doctor. It took almost a month for them to call me after I asked, in writing, for a full and complete copy – explaining that I felt some records may be missing. That resulted in a heated phone conversation with his staff- in which they admitted there was a hospital report but refused to go over what else was in the file. I was told that the doctor would only discuss this with me in person and when I explained that I lived in a different city now and requested he call me she ended the phone call by telling me that it was up to him whether he would return my call but she didn’t think he would. I never did receive a call back but did get a copy of that hospital report by mail a week later… but nothing else. So, I have no idea what else, if anything is missing.

The one counselling location he saw which is a government ministry service is the most difficult to navigate. I am still hopeful that some resolution will come. My request for his records from them has been denied by the Freedom of Information office; file closed. I can – and will – appeal. I also have a meeting in 2 weeks with a representative who seems understanding and I hope to have something come of that meeting.

It’s going to be a challenging meeting but it is a step towards resolution, or at least closure of some kind.

I’ve learned that I can’t let go like I’ve had some suggest. What will make a difference is getting Willie’s story out … to be vocal…not in the sense of blame or finger pointing but in a way that looks back to be able to look forward and see how other Youth can be helped more pro-actively and with better results.

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