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are abrogated, then Amendment 7 information will be available to persons who are

not "patients" as defined by Amendment 7. By making the records discoverable,

co-defendants of the producing hospital will have access to the records even if they

do not meet the definition of a "patient" under Amendment 7. Clearly, such a result

is contrary to the plain language of Amendment , which grants access to such

records only to "patients" and says nothing at all about discovery in legal

proceedings.6

Allowing persons who are not "patients" to gain access to records of adverse

medical incidents, including records of underlying peer review records, will

undermine the self-policing process that hospitals use effectively to improve care.

Removing the protections of confidentiality will have a chilling effect on the

willingness of doctors and other health care professionals to participate in the peer

review process. An interpretation that allows persons who are not patients to

obtain records of adverse medical incidents directly conflicts with the plain

language of the Amendment.

Moreover, if a patient has a right to Amendment 7 information with or

without a lawsuit, what purpose is served by making the information

"discoverable" in a legal proceeding? Indeed, in some respects, tying access to

6 With all due respect, the reference by the court below to formal or informal requests does not compel an interpretation that "formal" means a discovery request in a lawsuit. "Formal" could just as easily mean a letter and "informal" could mean a telephone call or in-person request.

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