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A letter from an alumnus about medical records at PU destroyed

May 20, 2002

As a recent admittee to a graduate school program at another institution, I am trying to reconstruct my immunization and medical history as required by the health service at that school.

I called Princeton University Health Services to request my medical records and was very surprised to find out that they were destroyed two years ago. In accordance with Princeton’s policy, I was told, the school destroys students’ medical records 10 years after graduation (or three years after the mandated minimum retention period of seven years, according to the employee with whom I spoke).

I now have no record of the medical treatment that I received during four years as an undergraduate, including for a shoulder injury that continues to plague me today and for which I am once again seeking attention — without a complete record of prior treatment. I doubt I am the only alumnus in this situation.

It seems absurd to me that the school does not inform students of its policy so that they can choose to take their records with them when they graduate, or retrieve them later, prior to their eventual destruction. I urge Princeton to inform all of its students of this potential problem; I hope this letter will make a few more people aware.

Jeffrey L. Schultz ‘90
New York, N.Y.

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