MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Your medical records are important, but what if you couldn't get them? One FOX6 viewer needed them after her doctor passed away, and no one responded to her repeated requests for help. That's when she got in touch with FOX6's Contact 6.
Loretta Mantz made what she thought was a simple request for a copy of her medical records after her longtime and beloved doctor Robert J. Fritz passed away.
"Doctor Fritz was a wonderful doctor. I had him for like 40 years. He delivered both my children and everyone thought so highly of him," Mantz said.
Mantz made two requests for copies, but they went unanswered, which made her wonder what was happening at that office.
"The girl that I contacted that worked for him couldn't get in it, so there was nothing we could do. What's happening to everyone else's files that are in there and they're going to need a new doctor," Mantz said.
When Mantz asked Contact 6 to look into this, Contact 6 forwarded a request to the same address where Mantz sent her requests.
Just days later...
"I talked to the doctor's office and they did get my files and I asked how they got them and they said they came in the mail. And it's all the originals, so I was really thrilled about that," Mantz said.
On the phone, the doctor's son told Contact 6 he never received anything from Mantz, and only learned about the issue after Contact 6 sent a letter.
The doctor's son said all of Dr. Fritz's patient records are still in the same building as they have been for decades, and says the family is making efforts to help everybody get access to their records.
Contact 6 says patients should remember: You have a right to see your medical records, even after your doctor's death.
By law, records are to be maintained, and if they are ever going to be destroyed, the office is supposed to provide 35 days notice in writing.
If you'd like a copy of your records, it is best to send the official request by certified mail. That way, someone has to sign to receive the document, and you can track when your request was received.