Obtain your hospital records
In order to be clear about the medical device used in your surgery, you need a copy of the Operation Record/Log from the hospital.
As a patient you have the right to request this information directly from the hospital where the implant surgery took place. If you need further support you can quote the following from the Freedom of Information Act. Click on the following link to view the flyer and print it if needed.
On this Operation Record there should be information about your implant. Most of the time, this will be a sticker/label from the medical device supplied by the manufacturer. It is important to have this information as there are so many different devices and manufacturers.
Step 1: Think about WHEN you had your implant. You will need the date, the surgeon’s name, and the hospital name.
Step 2: Find the phone number hospital where you had the surgery.
Step 3: Place a call to the hospital and ask to speak to Medical Records Department.
Step 4: State your name, and ask them what their process is to obtain your “Operation Record” or “Implant Log”. Write down the process as they tell you. How long will it take, will it be posted, will they call you to pick it up, will it cost anything…. (ie. they may just provide a copy for you to come and collect with identification, they may ask for you to fill in a form to obtain the record, and some places may charge a fee to do so – currently free in South Australia. If they say you cannot access your record, then state that you wish to obtain it under the “Freedom of Information” Act. You are entitled to it, if it still exists. Most likely they will ask your name, date of birth, the date of the surgery, and who performed the surgery). If the date of the operation was more than seven years ago, there may be issues in obtaining your records. Even if it is more than seven years since your surgery, you can still ask. They may be able to retrieve the record.
On this Operation Record there should be information about your implant (see the example on the right). Most of the time, this will be a sticker/label from the medical device supplied by the manufacturer. It is important to have this information as there are so many different devices and manufacturers. The sticker will give you this information this is CRUCIAL if you need removal surgery in the future and for any legal recourse in the future.
This step requires patience and persistence.
Step 5: ONCE you have your “Operation Record” then you may consider submitting an adverse event report to the TGA. Click here to go to the next Step – report to the TGA
Further Freedom of Information (FOI)
This FOI template can be useful to cut and paste parts of and use in your correspondence if you need to use FOI act to enforce your request for your Operation notes from a medical facility.
I have called the hospital to obtain my records and they are no longer available
What do I do?
Sometimes this happens if your surgery was 7 years ago or more (in some states of Australia, hospitals destroy medical records) . Don’t lose hope, some of our members have found other routes to find out what mesh/medical device was used in their surgery.
- Check with your GP or surgeon directly (if you are comfortable to do so) if they have a copy of your operation notes, or other indicators in your medical records. It may be worth a try.
- If you had private health insurance at the time of your surgery, it may be worth calling them to request the Item or Claim CODES from your surgery – this can help narrow down what procedure/s were performed and what was claimed. If you then go to MBS Online and enter the code, you may be able to work out what sort of surgery you had and what type of device was used.
- If you had private health insurance at the time of your implant operation, try calling them with the operation date and ask what claim codes were used. This can help narrow down what procedures were performed/claimed by the surgeon and the hospital at that time. Then with these codes you need to find the medical register for Australian prosthesis around that year – this shows the details of the prosthetic they claimed.
- Failing this, your GP can refer you for a 3d/4d ultrasound scan. We advise that it should be performed by a highly experienced operator who is able to understand mesh devices and their placement in the pelvis/abdomen.