Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Patient sues after learning UCH records search could top $1 million

TAMPA — A man attempting to learn whether his surgeon made mistakes at University Community Hospital found that access comes at a high price.

To search through years of records for adverse incident reports on his surgeon, William D. Raulerson would have to pay UCH more than a million dollars, he discovered.

The hospital would need to conduct manual record searches and then redact some information to protect patient privacy, hospital spokesman Will Darnall said in a statement released to the Times.

On Dec. 14, Raulerson sued UCH in an attempt to lower the records cost and determine the hospital's actual cost to produce the documents, according to the lawsuit filed in Hillsborough County Circuit Court.

The hospital told Raulerson that the documents requested would cost almost $75,000 per year searched before 2008 and $68,000 per year after 2008, the lawsuit said.

It's unclear how far back the search would go, but the surgeon has been operating on spines since 1981, according to an online biography.

Raulerson's lawyer, Mike Trentalange, said the estimated cost is unconscionable.

"We're not asking them to do anything they haven't already done," he said. "They know how many incidents every doctor has, because every time there is an incident they have a report and they have to track them."

Spokesman Darnall said UCH "takes this matter very seriously." The hospital is allowed to charge for "searching, reviewing and redacting records" and is allowed to seek payment in advance, he said.

Trentalange said the high cost is an attempt by UCH to prevent patients from obtaining important information on their doctors.

Raulerson, a former patient of surgeon Antonio Castellvi, filed a claim against Castellvi for complications suffered during a back surgery, Trentalange said. The records would be used in the case, he said.

According to Florida law, patients have a right to access adverse incident reports of doctors and hospitals, including medical malpractice and other acts that may have caused injury or death, but the amount charged to a patient for access depends on actual cost.

Hospitals are required to keep records for only years, so going into the past may mean manually digging through old paper files, which would increase the amount of time and labor needed for the task, according to Shelisha Durden, a spokeswoman for the Agency for Health Care Administration.

Trentalange said if UCH's high estimated cost is correct, then the state of its medical records could be putting the public at danger.

"It means they don't know about adverse incident reports that they themselves created about a doctor," he said, "which means they might have dangerous doctors on their staff."

Shelley Rossetter can be reached at (813) 226-3374 or

Patient sues after learning UCH records search could top $1 million 01/08/10 [Last modified: Friday, January 8, 2010 11:25pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trump's political speech to Scouts inspires parental outrage


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's fiery speech at the National Scout Jamboree in West Virginia has infuriated parents and former scouts.

    President Donald Trump waves to the crowd of scouts at the 2017 National Boy Scout Jamboree at the Summit in Glen Jean,W. Va., Monday. [AP Photo/Steve Helber]
  2. Florida woman says she buried puppy in park because she couldn't afford cremation

    Public Safety

    When Ashley Duey's 6-month-old puppy was hit by a car, she was devastated.

    It took her four hours to say goodbye.

    Ashley Duey, of Polk County, is trying to raise money to have her pet cremated. She tried burying her puppy in a park, but city officials said it was against the law. (Facebook)
  3. Recycling likely to be issue between the Two Ricks


    When Mayor Rick Kriseman and former mayor Rick Baker go head-to-head in tonight’s televised debate, they’ll likely tangle over the city’s sewage crisis.

    Recycling, especially Rick Baker's record on opposing it while mayor, may surface in tonight's televised debate
  4. Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay cooks and eats Everglades python


    MIAMI — Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay recently joined South Florida hunters to kill, and then eat, Burmese pythons invading the Everglades, the South Florida Water Management District announced Tuesday.

    Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsay and his son Jack, far right, joined South Florida Water Management District python hunter Kyle Penniston on a recent outing in western Miami-Dade County that bagged three snakes. [South Florida Water Management District]
  5. Goodman: A prescription for repairing Congress


    The only thing more unpopular today than NFL commissioner Roger Goodell at a New England Patriots game or Mel Gibson at a bat mitzvah is Congress.