Case 289793

C.E., No. 289793, 10 April 2009
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Mr A suffered from psychiatric illness and was hospitalised against his will under a guardianship order in 1990 and 1996. His case was later transferred to a doctor chosen by him – Dr B, and all medical records were sent on to Dr B. Mr A later sought to obtain a copy of the entirety of his medical records from these hospitalizations from the Departmental Directorate of Health and Social Affairs of Cotes d’Armor. The administrators of Cote d’Armor refused to provide the full record and Mr A sought to have this decision changed by the Administrative Court of Rennes. The court rejected his request and in this case he appeals that decision to the Conseil d’Etat.  

1. Was the administration of Cotes d’Armor entitled to refuse to provide medical records directly to Mr A?

Yes. Where a person is hospitalised involuntarily the information collected can be withheld from the patient if a doctor deems that disclosure of the information would give rise to a serious risk. A warden does not have the power to make this decision – only a doctor can deny the records to the patient. Mr A denies that there was a basis for a doctor to interfere with the provision of his records. He provides a district court ruling ordering the removal of the guardianship but this is not enough to seriously undermine the assessment made at the time regarding the seriousness of his psychiatric illness.  Therefore, the administration did not violate the Code of Public Health in making the contested decision.

On 23 August a letter was sent to Mr A informing him of the transfer of his case to the practitioner of his choosing – Dr B. All medical records were passed on to Dr B. Dr B refused to provide the records to Mr A because he deemed there to be a serious risk. In these circumstances Mr A is not entitled to demand that the medical records be provided directly to him by the administration of Cote d’Armor.