Hospital Discharge Errors Can Be Life-Threatening

Boy leaving hospital in a wheelchairThe Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), a division of the US Department of Health and Human services, recently reported that 44% of deaths caused by medical error in 2014 were preventable. Premature discharge from a hospital or the care of a medical professional is one of these potential errors—and can leave a patient to deal with increased medical bills, lost wages and earning potential, and pain and suffering.

Why Do Early Discharges Occur?

When a patient should be discharged depends on their reason for hospitalization. Most often, infants are discharged prematurely, but patients who underwent heart surgeries or were treated for broken arms are discharged prematurely, too. Limited staff, limited beds, or limited preparedness in surgical staff may be the most common reasons behind early discharge.

The Consequences of Releasing a Patient Too Soon

Though hospital overcrowding and understaffing may be culprits behind discharge errors, medical staff still have a responsibility to ensure a patient’s readiness to leave the hospital. Without confirming a patient has been fully treated, has stable vital signs, booked a follow-up appointment, and understands her home care and medication instructions, significant costs to the patient can follow, such as:

  • Re-admission into the hospital
  • Worsening of an illness or injury
  • Mishandling of medication
  • Inadequate or non-existent follow-up treatment
  • Ignorance of important test results
  • Death

Proving Negligence in a Discharge Error

All medical professionals are held to the legal Standard of Care, which means that one doctor with similar skills and in the same circumstances would match another doctor’s choices surrounding a patient’s diagnosis and treatment. Since the burden of proof falls to the patient, it’s important to make your case well so you can recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. To prove medical malpractice, your lawyer must show:

  • You were injured or otherwise worsened in condition after being released
  • Medical staff made a mistake when releasing you from the facility
  • The mistake overtly led to your injuries or worsened symptoms, which left you with damages

The Experienced Legal Assistance You Need

If you or a loved one was discharged from the hospital prematurely and incurred damages because of it, you need the help of a trusted attorney. The team at Tavss Fletcher has the strategies and knowledge necessary to build a successful case. Start a live online chat with us today to get started.