Friday, November 27, 2009

Freedom of Information - Africa and America

When we first arrived in the UK with Kezia in May 2006, one of my first questions to our consultant John was how much access we would have to her medical records during treatment and I was assured full access to paper records under supervision and complete photocopies (at my expense) if I so requested.

As my regular readers know, I have recently been made redundant by the United States government. During my 17 years of service with the USG I have variously been considered an employee and a contractor. I have regularly signed receipts for USD 600,000 + of diesel fuel. And as part of my annual contract received treatment for myself and my family from my employer's doctor.

Upon my termination I requested our family medical records. At first the manager agreed - the doctor was absent. On the doctor's return, I repeated my request and was informed I could have a copy of the records but the Federal Government would hold onto the paper records for five years. Wandering down the corridor to talk with Doc, I knock on his door to be told he will only allow me a "resume " of my family's medical records.

Yesterday Jaime's class teacher called a general parents' meeting. We also have the opporunity on an individual basis once a week. About eight mothers and three fathers attended - instead of commenting on the modalities of the school's operation regarding the class, they were more interested in their child's results .... Iput my hand up and told Jaime's class teacher, D. Anastacia, "I don't want my son's results read out to every other parent - I know his difficulties - I can meet you on Monday morning to discuss them." She and two other parents smiled in agreement