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Meidical Records

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MRI Girl

I had an MRI performed on my shoulder 2 yrs
ago. I am moving out of the state (TX) and want to take the MRI film with me. When I contacted the lab which performed the MRI they told me THEY own the film and I would have to pay for copies of the MRI. Aren't my medical records mine? Should I have to pay for any of my records? Does a doctor/lab have the right to keep/charge for copies?
Thank you!



I am a law school graduate. What I offer is mere information, not to be construed as forming an attorney client relationship.

Well, I am not sure how this works: but here is my take on the situation.

1) You are entitled to your medical records, but for efficiency, record keeping and medical malpractice reasons, the original MRI must be kept with the office that originally performed it.

2) As to your copy, I usually go to a new doctor if I move and they request (you can have them request it) the medical records transferred to their office for efficiency, recordkeeping, medical malpractice and appropriate diagnosis reasons. I am not sure if such new doctor gets a copy or the actual original.

3) So, I think your best bet is to go to a new doctor. If you want the American Medical Association take on it, contact the AMA. They should know THE rule or custom.

Hope this helps.


Inot unusual at all for linics etc to charge for copies of records, and they are required to keep the originals with them; a patient has a clear right to their records, but that not mean a clinic not also a right a charge a reasonable fee for the costs etc of providing the copies.

George H. Senteney


I worked in a hospital and my husb. is a physician. This question comes up often. The medical provider is required by law to keep medical records for 7 years. (most are keeping them forever, nowadays) When a patient comes to my husb. (who takes x-rays and develops them in his office) and wants copies, my husband must take the original xrays to a hospital radiology dept. and have them copied there since he does not have a machine to copy x-rays. The hospital CHARGES him to do this service. He only charges his patients what the hospital charges him. He does not charge for the trip to and from the hospital. People still think this should be a free service. When a patient has an xray or any type of test performed they are paying for performing the test and interpretation of the result. NOT the physical hard copy of the test itself. In the early days of his practice, my husband learned the hard way not to "lend" original x-rays. They will never come back. He once gave pre-op and post-op xrays to a patient who "promised" to bring them back after a 2nd opinion. This patient then went on to threaten lawsuit if we did not pay her x amount of dollars (extortion)Since we did not have any documentation of her original condition, or her immediate surgical results, we were screwed. Any doctor who hands original xrays or MRI to a patient is asking for trouble. Patients have a legal right to the interpretation, which he always forwards for free to anyone who requests it with a release of medical records signed by the patient, but if you want the hard copy you must pay for the copy.

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