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Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Thursday, November 9, 2000

Medical files must
be kept for 7 years

Question: My orthopedic doctor passed away suddenly about five years ago. I am in need of services by an orthopedic doctor but am wondering what happened to my records, whether the office staff passed them on to another doctor or destroyed them. I have checked the phone directory and there is no one occupying the office space of my former doctor. I would appreciate any help you can give me as to where I can check into this.

Answer: Call the Hawaii Medical Association at 536-7702.

The HMA doesn't keep track of such matters or maintain a records file, but it could possibly assist you in a search, said Executive Director Stephanie Aveiro.

Hawaii law requires that medical records for adults be retained for at least seven years after the last entry. After seven years, they can be destroyed, although Hawaii requires that basic information be retained for 25 years after the last date of entry. Basic information includes a patient's name and birth date, a list of dated diagnoses and "intrusive treatments," and a record of all drugs prescribed or given.

For minors, medical records must be retained for seven years after the 18th birthday, while basic information must be kept for 25 years after the 18th birthday.

Since your doctor died, you should find out who is the custodian of his records, if there is one.

Aveiro said if you provide the name of your doctor, she might be able to help you track down the records by checking with other physicians or the hospital he worked out of.

Q: Some time ago, another publication ran an article about the Marines' first female three-star general. I believe the article also stated she was in command of the Marine forces in Hawaii. Is my memory correct? If so, what is her name and marital status?

A: Lt. Gen. Carol Mutter became the Marine Corps' first three-star female general in July 1996 and was the most senior female officer in the corps. However, she never served in Hawaii and retired in January 1999.

No information was available on her marital status since she is now a private citizen, according to a Marine Corps spokesman.

Among the high-ranking women officers in Hawaii: Maj. Gen. Nancy Adams, commander of the Tripler Army Medical Center; Col. Ann Testa, commander of the 15th Air Base Wing at Hickam Air Force Base, and Kathleen Donohoe, commander of Coast Guard Group Honolulu.


To our neighbor, who always sweeps or throws his rubbish and road gravel to our side of the street for us to pick up. How childish. -- No Name


To an elderly couple who called 911 when I was in need of help at Ala Napunani in Salt Lake. I did not get your names. Many thanks. -- Mel


To the person who stole our son's Razor scooter out of our garage in Ewa Beach on Halloween night. Am I going to have to explain to my 9-year-old son that there are people out there who steal other people's property or am I going to be able to tell him that his scooter was returned? I hope it's the latter. Parents, if your child came home on Halloween night with a scooter, please check the bottom as my son's name is written there. And, please do the right thing by returning it to my son. Your child and mine will both learn a valuable lesson. -- Susan Ramie

Need help with problems? Call Kokua Line at 525-8686,
fax 525-6711, or write to P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
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