Once upon a time:
1. I thought medical records were kept until you died.
2. When you moved and changed doctors, your old records were automatically forwarded to the new doctor.
3. That all of your healthcare providers had access to all of your records.
4. If you just wished hard enough, Tinkerbell would live
Daytonite is right! The only way you can be sure of having a complete medical record is to have your own copies. I requested a complete copy of my hospital records in 2004 (I was hospitalized in 2003). I did not receive my x-rays, and the colonoscopy image was a black and white photocopy, instead of a color print.
Since I could not figure out the proper way of requesting these images, I Emailed the patient advocate this year, and was directed to fill out another medical records request. Page 2 of a doctor's report arrived in the mail (it had been missing, so I asked for it, also). The note said the x-ray images were on the way, but that the colonoscopy image was only saved as microfilm
I had been told by a hospital employee at a health fair that x-ray images are only kept for 5 years. The hospital is also in the process of converting film x-ray images to digital, so maybe they sent me the originals. At any rate, I have not been billed for this additional request. It could also be that I had them dead to rights, since the original request ($30) did have the word "everything" on it.
So, it would seem that if you want color images from endoscopic procedures, you need to tell them in advance. I had naively assumed that since I was offered pictures of my EGD (and said Yes), the same doctor would offer me picture(s) of my colonoscopy. This colonoscopy picture, which was normal, would have saved an hour of anxiety, since I was too gorked to remember his talk, which he did immediately after the colonoscopy.