Virginia: Special Cases – A Lawyer’s Records

Virginia: Special Cases – A Lawyer’s Records

On May 20, 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit rejected any “presumption that medical records are accurate and complete as to all the patient’s physical conditions”:

                        We reject as incorrect the presumption that medical records are accurate and complete as to all the patient’s physical conditions. Although a patient has a ‘strong motivation to be truthful’ when speaking to his physician, see FED. R. EVID. 803 advisory committee’s note to 1975 enactment, that does not mean he will report every ailment he is experiencing, or that the physician will accurately record everything he observes. A patient having a heart attack is not likely to mention his runny nose, nor is his physician likely to record it. As the Claims Court has recognized, physicians may enter information incorrectly and ‘typically record only a fraction of all that occurs.’ . . . We see no basis for presuming that medical records are accurate and complete even as to all physical conditions.

Kirby v. Sec’y HHS, 997 F.3d 1378 (4th Cir. May 20, 2021). Notably, in medical malpractice cases, Defendants often try to pitch that their self-serving patient records are “accurate and complete”, when in fact they are not.