Posted by: Sarah | 2013-01-17

Access to medical records and blood transfusion, traumatic pregnancy

Can you please tell me if a patient has the right to look at their medical file. I was paging through my file whilst waiting to pay my account and the admin assistant went berserk saying you are not allowed to do that - no even we are. I am under the impression that you can access your own medical records at any time?

I had a full blood transfusion at birth. Pardon my ignorance, but would my blood type be the same then as what it is now? i.e. O positive?

Is there any link to diseases or problems later on in life related to a blood transfusion at birth? I have had HIV tests etc, but I mean do you then have a lower immunity or are you more prone to psychological issues or asthma for example or something like that? I have pernicious anemia and so does my mom. I am now 47.

Also, my mom was married to a very abusive man. She was super stressed throughout the pregnancy and I was very premature. I know there is a lot of documentation about this, but does this stress really translate to the fetus and have effects later on in life?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

As a personal belief, I have always thoguht they should. More recently in terms of formal medical ethics it has been generally agreed that this should be so, too. But I'm not sure of the strict terms of SA law on this point.
Absolutely right that admin assistants, secretaries ( though who types the letters and entries ? ) and receptionists should not have access to the charts. But that doesn't mean we the patient, paying for the whole process, shouldn't be able to access our own records.
You don't change your blood type ; it remains whatever you were born with, and transfusions have to be of your own blood group or one compatable with it.
I don't think ( this is more a question for our GP, Cyberdoc ) that there are any diseases or disorders usually associated later in life with blood transfusions at birth, other than if HIV - infected blood had been transfused.
Illnesses like pernicious anaemia can run in families, but that's due to genetics, not to something specifically carried in the blood itself.
Much would depend on the scale of the blood transfusion and the reason for it, at birth, but I don't think it would be related to later illness ; certainly not psychological problems.
The issue of whether severe stress to the mother during pregnancy has later life effects on the child is still significantly controversial and very complex ( there's often, for instance, more going on than pure psychological stress, such as nutritional factors. ) And if one's looking for possible effects 47 years later, obviously a great many things have happened to one in 47 years, so its not easy to separate out one single element from all that

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