The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Letter to the Editor

On November 23, 2011, Illinois Gov. Quinn signed a bill, SB 1694, Public Act 097-623, which was unanimously passed by the congress of Illinois. It is a bill that is suppose to make it easier to obtain medical records for a deceased person.

The surviving spouse or executor could have the medical records released. Only if there is no surviving spouse or executor can a child receive the medical records.

The problem with this bill is that congress did not take into consideration the many families that include a stepparent. When the child of a parent who had remarried passes away, that child (if not named the executor) must rely on the surviving stepparent to request the release of medical records to the child. This method is totally wrong. A child should have access to the deceased parents' medical records without going through a surviving stepparent or executor.

When a person goes to the doctor and fills out the paperwork, the form asks what illnesses did your parents have or die of. If a person goes to the dermatologist for skin problems, they ask what type of skin cancer, if any, your parents had. A child from a deceased parent may need access to the parents medical records to accurately answer that question. Grandchildren should also be aware of family medical history.

The first question, if a stepparent will not release the medical records to a son or daughter of their deceased parent is, "Why not release the records?". If the records are not released, the second question is "What is being hidden?".

In my opinion, there are no reasons what-so-ever where the medical records should be kept from a child by a stepparent. Children from a previous marriage should have rights. They gave me life, not a stepparent, and a parent would want their children to know their medical history. Even if a parent authorized their child access to their medical records before their death, the records are not accessible after death. Stepparents should not have the right to play God.

The Congress of Illinois also did not consider if a stepparent might have or had mental issues, financial gains, elder abuse, or just is being stubborn in this matter.

I urge the good people of Illinois to contact their representatives to have SB164, Public Act 097-623, Section 2001.5 paragraph 8 changed, especially anyone who has a stepparent who might affect their rights. In my opinion, the Congress of Illinois has created the "perfect crime." Think about that statement.

Richard Wood

La Harpe, IL