Hospitalization is typically reserved for patients that require a high level of medical attention, usually for an unexpected accident, illness, or surgery. The attending physician determines the criteria for a patient’s discharge from a hospital. When a patient is medically stable and no longer requires inpatient care and treatment, they can be discharged home. If they cannot return home and require a lower level of care, appropriate placement may be a nursing home or rehabilitation center. When patients are discharged to the community before they are medically stable, they can have significant complications resulting in poor medical outcomes.
A study in 2017 at the UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, about adverse events following hospital discharge, was published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. Researchers found that one in five patients discharged from the hospital with one or more vital sign instabilities correlated to poor outcomes such as readmission or death within 30 days.
Although premature hospital discharges affect patients of all ages, the most prevalent and at-risk population are newborn infants. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends an infant remain in the hospital for a minimum of 48 hours and longer if there are any complications after birth. However, many newborns are discharged early, with a significant risk of infections, jaundice, dehydration, and an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
Common Reasons that Hospitals Discharge Patients Prematurely:
• Hospitals have limited bed capacity, and there are often emergency patients waiting for admission with a critical medical diagnosis.
• Patients treated in the Emergency Room generally have no prior doctor-patient relationship. Without continuity of care and prior medical history, there is an increased risk of proper diagnosis and treatment.
• There are strict payment criteria from insurance providers and the public payer system such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare, to keep costs down.
• Poor communication between health care providers and a failure to conduct testing can lead to discharge without proper diagnosis and treatment.
• Health care providers may rush patient assessments and treatment for financial gain, often with errors in judgment.
Being discharged from a hospital is a vulnerable time due to many factors, including medication discrepancies, hospital-acquired infections, and procedural complications. Many patients are discharged without proper education, discharge instructions, or follow-up appointments. A premature and unsafe discharge heightens the risk of adverse events.
Medical Malpractice Claims for Negligence or Omission in Hospital Discharges
Hospitals and medical professionals can be held liable for harm and damages in a medical malpractice claim if they are negligent in meeting the standard of care. The standard of care is that which other medical professionals would have provided under the same circumstances. In a medical malpractice claim, an experienced personal injury attorney, with expert witnesses, can prove how the deviation from the standard of care resulted in harm. Awards and settlements can include economic and non-economic damages such as medical bills, pain and suffering, loss of earnings, emotional distress, funeral expenses, and others.
We Are Here When You Need Us
Ogle Law, LLC is an experienced personal injury law firm that has proven results in representing clients in verdicts and settlements for medical malpractice claims for over three decades. Our office advocates for patients’ rights, and we believe in holding those accountable for negligent care. As a National Board-Certified Civil Trial Specialist, Attorney William Ogle has proven skill and expertise in the field of law, as recognized by his peers. Ogle Law, LLC offers compassionate services for patients and family members who have suffered harm due to early hospital discharges and sub-standard medical care.
Ogle Law, LLC has offices in Daytona Beach and Alachua, Florida. We offer a free case review and can be contacted by phone or text message at (386) 253-2500.