Fight over Casey Kasem’s medical records lands in Pierce County court

The widow of radio legend Casey Kasem has gone to court to try to force a Gig Harbor hospital where he was treated before he died to turn over her husband’s medical records.

Jeannie Kasem wants St. Anthony Hospital to produce “Casey’s entire record,” including his medical charts, laboratory results, billing records, notes, medications prescribed and the log of people who visited him, according to a pleading filed in Pierce County Superior Court earlier this month.

Casey Kasem became a household name by hosting the radio program, “American Top 40,” for decades.

Jeannie Kasem’s local attorney, Lance Hester, said his client wants to know about her husband’s last few weeks alive.

“When Casey entered the hospital, there was no expectation he had only a couple of weeks of life left to live,” Hester said. “His daughter was controlling the decisions at the time, and when he perished, his wife, Jeannie, was never given any sort of explanation. She loved him, is entitled to the records by law and should not be denied the records.”

Mary Getchell is director of strategic communications for CHI Franciscan Health, St. Anthony’s parent system.

Getchell said this week that privacy laws forbid her from talking about a specific patient, but she said the system generally is required by law to turn over records to someone authorized to have them, which could include a family member. Someone seeking such records would need to prove he or she is authorized to receive them, she said.

That might be the rub.

Before Casey Kasem died June 15 at the age of 82, his daughter from a previous marriage, Kerri Kasem, had won authority over her father’s health-care decisions in a highly publicized fight with Jeannie Kasem.

“I guess the hospital might be concerned (Jeannie Kasem) is not somehow entitled to the records since Casey’s daughter intervened and temporarily took over care decisions,” Hester said. “That authority, perhaps obviously, expired when he died.”

That fight between Kerri and Jeannie Kasem continued after Casey Kasem died when there were disagreements over what should happen to his body.

Jeannie Kasem won that battle, spiriting his body out of a Tacoma funeral home in July. People magazine reported on its website Tuesday that she had her husband’s remains buried in Oslo, Norway, recently, over the objections of his children.

A hearing on Jeannie Kasem’s request for the St. Anthony medical records is scheduled for April.

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