ERWIN, Tenn. (WJHL) – A News Channel 11 investigation found that patients are accusing an Erwin medical clinic of withholding their medical records.
Patients of Bradshaw Family Medical, a healthcare provider located in downtown Erwin, say it shut down abruptly in July.
William Wilson was a patient for a few months at the clinic, and he says when he showed up for a July appointment, the doors were locked.
“We tried to get in touch with the clinic. We were told it closed unexpectedly. It became shocking after two weeks and there was no response, no communication,” William Wilson said.
He and his wife Phyllis say they feel helpless. They accuse the clinic of ‘radio silence’ and withholding their medical records.
“They abandoned their patients,” said Phyllis Wilson. “People need to get their records. They need to get their healthcare, and they can’t do that. We are being held hostage by this clinic.”
“Every time we’d call, we’d get voicemail,” said William. “Every time we’d go by the office, it was locked tight.”
News Channel 11 verified these claims, calling the phone number listed online for the clinic. The line simply rings and alerts that the voice mailbox is full. Wednesday, the clinic was locked up when a news crew stopped by.
Patient Katherine Pierce was also knocking on the door of the clinic Wednesday afternoon.
While she declined to be interviewed on camera, she told News Channel 11 that she was a patient of Bradshaw Family Medical for two years. Pierce has been trying to contact the clinic and get her medical records for more than a month.
“I got no notice at all. None,” said Pierce. “It’s frustrating and depressing. This is medical care, and it’s needed.”
Pierce said while no one from the clinic alerted her to the closure, she was curious as to why her most recent prescription was filled for a three months supply.
“They were at least trying to take care of me, I guess. Make sure I had my medication,” said Pierce.
She said until the clinic’s closure, she was satisfied with the care they provided.
“I had no issues as a patient. I thought it was wonderful care, I had no problem at all. The staff was great. I just don’t understand what happened,” said Pierce.
“There’s been no response. None. Absolutely none,” William Wilson said of his repeated attempts to get in contact with anyone at the clinic since July.
Nothing is listed on the clinic’s website about a closure, and there is no sign on the door with an explanation.
“It’s been very frustrating,” said Phyllis Wilson.
Time is running out for patients in critical need of medication. William Wilson is diabetic.
“So I’m at a point where three or four of my prescriptions have run out, and I can’t get them refilled,” he said.
“We keep hitting the same roadblock that without medical records, nobody will see him,” Phyllis added.
According to Tennessee law, a health care provider must provide a copy or summary of a patient’s medical records within 10 days of receiving a request in writing. If a provider fails to comply, the law states they are subject to disciplinary actions that include sanctions and a monetary fine.
The Wilson family said they want the state to step in and take action.
“We can’t believe this could happen. It shows absolute disregard for the wellbeing of the patients, the dignity of the medical profession and the ties that bind the community together,” said William.
News Channel 11’s attempts to reach anyone with Bradshaw Family Medical by phone, email and in-person Wednesday for explanation all went unanswered.
The Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) could not provide much information and did not confirm if it was aware of Bradshaw Family Medical’s closure.
A TDH spokesperson clarified that if disciplinary actions were to be taken against the clinic, that information would be released in its disciplinary actions reports, issued on the 15th of each month.
“Complaints against health care providers are confidential in Tennessee, unless and until a complaint leads to the filing of formal disciplinary charges by a Health Professional Board,” a spokesperson confirmed.
The months of July and August show no disciplinary action reports against Bradshaw Family Medical.
“Any member of the public can file a complaint with the Department if they feel that a healthcare professional has violated their practice act or rules of their profession,” the TDH spokesperson added.