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Judge Denies Ashcroft’s Request for Patient Medical Records


— February 10, 2004

A move by U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft to subpoena the medical records of 40 patients who received so-called partial-birth abortions at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago was halted�at least temporarily�when a Chicago federal judge quashed the information request.

The ruling is the first in a series of subpoenas by the U.S. Justice Department seeking the medical records of patients from seven physicians and at least five hospitals, Crain’s sister publication Modern Healthcare has learned . . . .

[I]n a 16-page decision, U.S. Chief District Judge Charles Kocoras denied the government�s request to obtain patient medical records from Northwestern, citing the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and Illinois� medical privacy law.

In his decision, Judge Kocoras said the records �appear to have been sought for the purpose of testing the assertions in Dr. Hammond�s declarations. At best, the government is seeking possible impeachment material.�

While the Justice Department has said it is not seeking information that would identify the patients, that did not persuade Judge Kocoras.

Details here from Crain’s Chicago Business.com. The court’s Order can be read here. (via How Appealing)


A move by U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft to subpoena the medical records of 40 patients who received so-called partial-birth abortions at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago was halted�at least temporarily�when a Chicago federal judge quashed the information request.

The ruling is the first in a series of subpoenas by the U.S. Justice Department seeking the medical records of patients from seven physicians and at least five hospitals, Crain’s sister publication Modern Healthcare has learned . . . .

[I]n a 16-page decision, U.S. Chief District Judge Charles Kocoras denied the government�s request to obtain patient medical records from Northwestern, citing the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and Illinois� medical privacy law.

In his decision, Judge Kocoras said the records �appear to have been sought for the purpose of testing the assertions in Dr. Hammond�s declarations. At best, the government is seeking possible impeachment material.�

While the Justice Department has said it is not seeking information that would identify the patients, that did not persuade Judge Kocoras.

Details here from Crain’s Chicago Business.com. The court’s Order can be read here. (via How Appealing)

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