Why Is An Ohio Hospital Refusing To Release Woman’s Medical Records To Her Wife?

6a00d8341c730253ef01a511ef3c13970c-500wi“I’m grieving,” Marcia Gallas told WCPO News in Cincinnati. “It’s going to take a long time to get over Barbara and I really don’t understand why they won’t recognize… what am I to think except that they have a problem with same-sex marriage?”

Gallas and her wife Barbara Graham were legally married in Canada in 2003 after 20 years of being together. In April, Graham passed away after a long battle with cancer. Now, Gallas is trying to retrieve her late wife’s medical records, but Bethesda North Hospital in Cincinnati is refusing to hand them over.

Gallas explained that she was able to obtain her wife’s charts from one hospital, but staff at Bethesda North “just aren’t budging,” despite the fact that she has a federal injunction.

The hospital claims it is unable to sign over Graham’s medical records to Gallas due to state and federal privacy laws, but according to Gallas, they told her attorney that until the stay on same-sex marriage in Ohio is overridden, they would not cooperate with her.

Gallas’ next option is to seek help from Graham’s sons, who will have to grant her access to the information, but that process could take several weeks to complete.

“All they need to do is release her medical records,”  Gallas said. “That’s all I’m asking for. I don’t think that’s too much to ask for.”

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  • hyhybt

    Anybody know what, if any, penalty is possible for a hospital violating an injunction?

  • margal1

    I have to say that this is a VERY fluid situation. I may have good news to report soon but beyond this, I’m going to say let’s wait and see…….

    Marcia G.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    oooooh, this really makes me mad. Sue the Hell out of them! How dare they? The loss of your spouse is difficult enough without having petty haters withholding records. Please contact NCLR or some legal eagles to help you shake these Bethesbians to their knees. Don’t stop until they give you a very public apology and compensation for emotional damages. You will be in my prayers and thoughts.

  • DarkZephyr

    @margal1: I really hope it works out for you Marcia, I look forward to hopefully hearing some good news! And my condolences for the loss of your wife. *hugs*

  • margal1

    I have GREAT news! Bethesda North Hospital did the right thing and turned over Barb’s medical records to complete her long-term medical study! I didn’t have to fill out any additional forms NOR did I need to have our sons authorize the release of her records. I HAD their authorization but on principle, I didn’t want to have to go that route! Now Barb Graham’s wishes have been honored and the legality of our marriage has been validated! Now we can focus on the upcoming rulings with respect to same-sex marriage and hope that the 6th district court comes through! Thanks to everyone for your support! And I will let you know when my follow-up interview happens because Channel 9 wants to do another interview. Oh, and I MUST thank Cincinnati’s superstar attorney, Scott Knox ! You are AWESOME!!!

  • Cam

    So the hospital was willing to ignore a federal injunction that demanded they turn over the records UNTIL their bigotry became public. THEN suddenly they couldn’t hand them over fast enough.

    So sad that this woman had to go through this on top of the sadness of losing her wife.

  • DarkZephyr

    @margal1: That is fantastic news! I am so glad! Keep us updated Marcia!

  • 1EqualityUSA

    This is great news. I’m so frustrated that you had to expend one ounce of energy on something that should have been automatic. I’m so proud of you for standing up to this hospital. It will make it easier for others in the future. The courage and determination you have shown is uplifting. Thank you for your efforts and speaking out in a public forum on this.

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