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In Germany you have a statutory right to see your medical records. You have this right regardless of whether litigation is likely or not. This means that you may inspect your medical records even if no medical liability litigation is being prepared or implemented against your healthcare provider. The healthcare provider can only refuse to let you see them if this might cause considerable damage to your health. This may be the case, for instance, in areas of psychiatry and psychotherapy.
The medical records are generally inspected in the place where they are kept, that is in the medical or dental surgery or in the hospital. You may also make copies of the records, but you yourself must pay the cost of making them. You as a patient are not entitled to have the healthcare provider give or send the original documents to you.
There are also situations in which close relatives or heirs of a deceased person may see their medical records in Germany. This particularly applies if you need information from the file in order to file for compensation because you presume malpractice to have occurred. It is however not possible to inspect the medical records if the deceased explicitly or implicitly prohibited this.
Doctors and dentists are required to store medical records in Germany for ten years as a rule.
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