As a trial lawyer and as a registered nurse I’ve seen shocking inaccuracies in medical records-including my own. And here’s why that’s important. First, every medical decision your doctors make about your care is based on your medical history. Let’s say you’re in a crash, and you’re rushed to the ER. You’re disoriented or unconscious. If the ER doctor gets your electronic medical record, and it contains wrong information, your care is going to based on that–false information. One study found that “More than 40% of medication errors can be traced to inadequate reconciliation in handoffs during admission, transfer, and discharge of patients. Once an error occurs, it is likely to be carried through patient care transitions; therefore, obtaining the most accurate medication history in the emergency department can improve patient safety.” Second, let’s say you are applying for disability insurance, and your medical records contains an MRI report that says you have early signs of multiple sclerosis. If you don’t know that, and if you don’t actually have early MS, you can’t challenge the reading of the MRI, and your ability to obtain insurance will be affected. Third, if you’re injured, and the description of your injury is wrong in your medical record, you could damage your ability to recover lost wages and medical bills for an injury that wasn’t your fault. So step one for all of us is to obtain our medical records. It’s allowed in Maine. Let’s do it.