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My medical records seem to indicate I'm an alcoholic?!

(15 Posts)

I wonder if anyone can help here.

I'm 24 weeks pregnant and in good health in general life but since I got pregnant I've had HG and then possible transgeminal neuralgia in my face. I've actually just left hospital from a spell of bad facial pain.

I saw a specialist about three weeks ago re the facial pain and just got a letter back from the consultant (copying in my GP) that explains the situation and then apropos of absolutely nothing concludes with "and I see from this patients medical records that she was diagnosed with alcohol dependence syndrome in 2007".

Now in 2007 I was very depressed and had a breakdown as a result of sexual abuse. I did see my doctor and at one point was treated with fluoxetine (which I have taken on and off ever since) and diazepam. I definitely did mention that I was drinking too much and that at this point in my life drink was a problem for me but the word alcoholic was never mentioned and I never said or insinuated that I could be. No doctor ever suggested that I was an alcoholic either. It was a phase and prior to my pregnancy I was a very occasional drinker and have been for the past 5 years. I've held down a responsible job that whole time too.

So what does this mean? If this is on my medical records am I in potential trouble regarding my baby? I've got all kinds of things going through my head- social services, midwife having this on her mind when she's seeing me etc (although that has never been mentioned).

Can I get this taken off of my medical records? Who do I speak to about this?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Shameless bump smile

eurochick Sat 15-Mar-14 19:12:45

Start by talking to the GP you saw in 2007, if he/she is still around?

The thing is I go to a "super surgery" with about 20 doctors in it. You hardly ever see the same one twice and they change a lot so I have no idea who I saw.

I did think of the practice manager but not sure what the law is about getting things removed from medical records.

crazykat Sat 15-Mar-14 19:27:56

Afaik alcohol dependent or alcoholic doesn't just mean that you're constantly drunk and cant function, it can be that you have to have a drink, can't cut down how much you drink, drink more than you intend to.

My dad was an alcoholic years ago, he couldn't go one day without drinking but still managed to hold down a responsible job. He can drink now and doesn't go over the top or have to drink.

Thanks crazykat- yes I understand that but that's definitely not me. It may have been when I was very depressed for a few months but it's very definitely not now so to be labelled as though it's a permanent condition is what is bothering me.

SilverStars Sat 15-Mar-14 21:45:56

I would see any gp, ask about what is on your records and then ask them how this was diagnosed and by which specialist? If they cannot prove it ( if on your system) then ask of it to be removed. It will have your mental health records of depression down on it, but they have to stay as it is last history.

Try not to worry. It may be worth telling your midwife your concerns next appointment to get reassurance.

SilverStars Sat 15-Mar-14 21:46:24

Past history it should have read, as diagnosed and treated with medication.

Thanks silver. I have no issue with records indicating what's happened, and certainly would never ask for MH issues to be discounted or changed - I'm just confused as the alcohol stuff as is not something that I ever discussed in depth with a GP and I have certainly never been treated for alcoholism. I have only ever mentioned any excessive drinking in passing as a symptom of past depression. I also don't have any long term liver damage or anything like that (I know this as I recently had all my organs scanned to rule out appendicitis).

Aside from that, I also don't see how a historic alcohol issue has any baring on a current, antenatal facial pain issue, so I don't understand why it's on this letter confused

SilverStars Sat 15-Mar-14 22:38:35

It seems indeed strange why a one off comment by you has been picked up by such a consultation. I cannot believe they would look through notes in such detail. So that is why I would ask any go what they see on their computer screen when they look you up - the key diagnoses and facts held about you. Then tell them about this letter, and ask why and how they would have such details. Then I would look up this condition and find the NICE guidelines about diagnosing it. If the gp practice cannot prove diagnosis carried out according to the NICE guidelines then I would ask for your records to a) be amended correctly and b) this consultant sent correct details and asked the relevance if that comment to your presenting condition.

Treasa24 Sun 16-Mar-14 10:02:48

www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/thenhs/records/healthrecords/Pages/what_to_do.aspx

About seeing and challenging your medical records. I agree with Silver - if a diagnosis, as per NICE guidelines, wasn't made, you should be speaking to your practice, at the very least.

Hope you're feeling better following the facial pain and that you can enjoy your pregnancy (and congratulations!).

Thanks tresea- that's really helpful. It was most certainly not diagnosed under NICE guidelines (unless I was too drunk to remember?! grinwink) so that settles that.

Have made an appointment with the main partner doctor to discuss this and ask for clarification etc.

The letter is written in very poor English and addressed to the wrong people (my name is wrongly spelt, doctors name is wrong) and the consultant I saw was Hungarian with quite broken English so my only other thought is that she's misread my notes or misunderstood them.

Treasa24 Sun 16-Mar-14 17:50:34

That's very likely. Do hope this is cleared up soon. I once saw some rubbish stuff in my notes and successfully had it removed. Good luck and stand your ground when you meet the main partner!

Thank you so much. I will stand my ground- I've had such a bad time lately with the hyperemesis and unidentified facial pain that this just feels like the final straw to my sanity so I'm determined to sort it out.

Just updating- my surgery phoned me this morning to say that they had received a "rather odd" letter from the consultant and had I received it. Looks like they've identified inconsistencies too. grin

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