Subpoenaed for Records... That I Don't Have

June 7, 2010

A large imposing-looking man flashed his badge at me. Oh great. This can’t be good. He said he had papers for Dr. Young. Yes, unfortunately, that’s me. What was I supposed to do? He handed me the papers with the big word “SUBPOENA” on it. It made me very nervous. Uh-oh. Did I do something? Is someone suing me? Am I in trouble for that shiny stone my 5-year-old stuck in her pocket in a gift shop two years ago?

There I was sitting alone in the office, doors locked, while I tried to finish up some paperwork and make some phone calls. Suddenly, there was a very loud knock on the door. I tried to ignore it; I did not want to open the door while I was alone in the office.

But the knocking just got louder, so I looked at the window, and a large imposing-looking man flashed his badge at me. Oh great. This can’t be good. He said he had papers for Dr. Young. Yes, unfortunately, that’s me. What was I supposed to do? He handed me the papers with the big word “SUBPOENA” on it. It made me very nervous. Uh-oh. Did I do something? Is someone suing me? Am I in trouble for that shiny stone my 5-year-old stuck in her pocket in a gift shop two years ago?

The man with the badge said he had gone to my old office half an hour away, and when he said he had papers for me, they sent him to my new office. I looked more closely at these papers. A subpoena for records. For a patient I saw at the old office. Years ago. That hasn’t followed up in the new office.

I told him I didn’t have the records. Well, that’s not badge man’s problem. His job is to hand me the papers, and he had done his job. So I called my old office. The secretary who answered the phone said she didn’t speak to badge man. Well, obviously somebody did because my new address was nowhere to be found on the papers, so someone must have told him how to find me.

I asked the secretary to please, please, please, for the love of all that’s good, send the records in. Otherwise, I have to appear in court. And without records, that would really be fruitless, and a grand waste of time and money.

Why, by the way, don’t they just send a letter saying that they want records? Huh? Why do they have to send this scary looking dude with scary looking papers to pound on my door on a Friday afternoon? And why does the letter say I “must appear in court…” unless I send the records, in which case, thank you very much, don’t bother coming? It’s enough to, as they used to say, give me a coronary.