Rights of a surviving spouse

March 4, 2005

Does a spouse have unlimited access to a deceased patient's medical record?

Q: Does a spouse have unlimited access to a deceased patient's medical record?

A: No. A spouse is entitled to access a deceased patient's records only if he or she is the executor or administrator of the estate, or is otherwise authorized to act on its behalf. In such cases, the spouse must be treated as a personal representative with the same rights as the patient.