Rape by Statute

My people were originally farmers who lived twenty miles from Valley Forge and died in the Revolutionary War.  The family had three laws:  Walk right with God, plant every spring, and mind your own business.  They intended that the government they were permitting to be created would do likewise, with the exception of the planting.

I have learned this day a new way in which the State does not mind its own business.

Last year I filed a complaint against Dr. Jane Kou with the Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC) of the Department of Health of New York State.  OPMC Investigator Jane Durr sent me authorizations to release medical information for two hospitals, which I signed.  Last week I received from OPMC Director Pauline Frazier a letter stating that my records from two other hospitals had also been reviewed.

After speaking both with a private attorney and Austin, Director of Medical Records at Upstate Medical University, I have learned that, in fact, the State does not need a citizen’s permission in order to look at private medical records.  Clerks of any ilk are now privy to your personal affairs, as long as they work for the State.

One of the troubling things about this matter is that Ms. Durr did send me two authorizations for my signature.  She and her office are perpetuating the illusion that the State is under citizen control when, in fact, it would have been most truthful if Ms. Durr had said, “Oh, never mind.  We can get anything we want anytime we want.”

Dr. Kou, the physician being challenged, has never been on the staff of Upstate, however, I have been a patient there.  Therefore, the State is not investigating the doctor:  it is investigating me.  As has been the history of rape cases, it is the victim who is being scrutinized.

Ms. Austin has informed me that the State has statutory authority to investigate private citizen’s confidential records.  She has contacted their Privacy Officer and alerted their legal counsel, however I have no apparent recourse for the damage done to me.

The chilling fact is that if your medical confidentiality has been violated, the place you go to file a complaint is the Office of Professional Medical Conduct.  The guardian of citizen’s privacy is the violator of citizen’s privacy.

Ms. Austin also stated that Medicare and Medicaid could likewise take your private records without your authorization.  The release you sign in your doctor’s office is apparently pure bunk—not a reality, but an illusion that you have control over what is known about you.

Citizens live in the naive faith that their affairs are private.  The State has not informed them that it can access confidential information at will.  Anyone who wishes to change this state of affairs should contact their legislator to express an opinion or advocate for legislation that will more closely refine and define what information the State can know.

Had there been foresight that enabled my ancestors, John and Thomas Hope, to see what government has become, they would have stayed home on the farm and let the British prevail.  It was not worth dying for.

About annecwoodlen

I am a tenth generation American, descended from a family that has been working a farm that was deeded to us by William Penn. The country has changed around us but we have held true. I stand in my grandmother’s kitchen, look down the valley to her brother’s farm and see my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Hannah standing on the porch. She is holding the baby, surrounded by four other children, and saying goodbye to her husband and oldest son who are going off to fight in the Revolutionary War. The war is twenty miles away and her husband will die fighting. We are not the Daughters of the American Revolution; we were its mothers. My father, Milton C. Woodlen, got his doctorate from Temple University in the 1940’s when—in his words—“a doctorate still meant something.” He became an education professor at West Chester State Teachers College, where my mother, Elizabeth Hope Copeland, had graduated. My mother raised four girls and one boy, of which I am the middle child. My parents are deceased and my siblings are estranged. My fiancé, Robert H. Dobrow, was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps. In 1974, his plane crashed, his parachute did not open, and we buried him in a cemetery on Long Island. I could say a great deal about him, or nothing; there is no middle ground. I have loved other men; Bob was my soul mate. The single greatest determinate of who I am and what my life has been is that I inherited my father’s gene for bipolar disorder, type II. Associated with all bipolar disorders is executive dysfunction, a learning disability that interferes with the ability to sort and organize. Despite an I.Q. of 139, I failed twelve subjects and got expelled from high school and prep school. I attended Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College and got an associate’s degree after twenty-five years. I am nothing if not tenacious. Gifted with intelligence, constrained by disability, and compromised by depression, my employment was limited to entry level jobs. Being female in the 1960’s meant that I did office work—billing at the university library, calling out telegrams at Western Union, and filing papers at a law firm. During one decade, I worked at about a hundred different places as a temporary secretary. I worked for hospitals, banks, manufacturers and others, including the county government. I quit the District Attorney’s Office to manage a gas station; it was more honest work. After Bob’s death, I started taking antidepressants. Following doctor’s orders, I took them every day for twenty-six years. During that time, I attempted%2
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One Response to Rape by Statute

  1. arleen fordock says:

    Many feel that their records are in safe hands with their employers/bosses. However, besides the government I believe all of
    us must understand that your insurance company (be it w/employer or w/medicare/medicaid) can obtain all the records on us.
    We sign a Health Care Proxy, denoting relatives etc. I’ve started filling out my own paper to show “any and all attorneys” and “any and all relatives”. Since there’s little space to give every relative’s address etc, then just putting down “all” I hope will protect me at the unfortunate time of a serious medical event. AM also sure that “all attorneys” means one hired by me or by my family for alleged malpractice or other disrespectful act of any med employee/doctor WILL give some credence to MY body
    problem(s) if and when any severely occur. The NYS Office of Professional Medical Conduct, in my case processed via a Investigator that never SAW me, denied my complaint. However if I’d the funds for the malpractice attorney to go forward,
    it would have ended on a better note. Seriously money-strapped-elderly cannot pay for some items required to do a successful malpractice lawsuit and the legal firm is NOT obligated to fund the WHOLE list of expenses( unless you’ve lost an eye or foot or arm (one appendage that was mismarked etc). Big lawfirms go to work on BIG cases of your loss/errors of surgeon or other
    provable written history of the operating room. I’ll never get operated on by a surgeon that needs MUSIC played while he works, it keeps the recording of the events from being heard!. /// Headlines make public think there’s lots of HUGE malpractice awards, when in reality it’s not so. It’s in everyone’s best interest to fill out a healthcare proxy. Realize , in your
    hospitalizaton or during previous med care, that your family witness(es) are your best to have in a courtroom if ever there’s a “error” in the med care you’ve received. Go to a doctor/med appointment WITH someone that is able to hear what’s going on
    in the “patient review room” you sit in. Keep your relatives that care for you and appreciate them for willingness to be your
    2nd set of ears. AND: Pray for a doctor who’s serious about his oath “to do no harm”! Note: In NYS we can access any doctor’s record, just use internet by putting in NYS Dept of Health and go to a block where you enter doctor’s name. You’ll be
    able to see current litigation, any citations, any removing of license to practice etc. It’s a beautiful internet site!

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