Early Discharge of a Patient is Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice happens in many different ways.  It could be a failure to diagnose a disease, a misdiagnoses, surgical errors, birthing errors, and even medication errors.  Whenever a doctor owes you a duty of care but injures you by deviating from accepted medical practice, you can make a claim founded upon medical malpractice.

Experienced medical malpractice attorneys in the Hudson Valley Region of New York know that premature discharge from the hospital falls within the scope of medical malpractice. 

The success of your early hospital discharge claim will hinge upon several elements.  The doctor must have owed a duty to you specifically.  This means that a doctor patient relationship must have existed between the two parties at the time of the alleged negligent act. 

A doctor patient relationship is required because the doctor does not owe a duty to the patient until that relationship exists.  And the duty is to not cause foreseeable and preventable harm by deviating from the standard of treatment propounded by the medical profession.  Any deviation that would not have been committed by another similarly situated medical professional under the same circumstances would be an act of negligence.  So long as the deviation caused your injuries and you suffered damages, you can receive compensation for those damages. 

When to properly discharge a patient from a hospital is a question of accepted medical practice under the circumstances.  In many cases there is no set or specific time that doctors must keep the patient in the hospital.  Being that it is a case by case determination, it takes many hours and consultations with medical experts in order to determine if a patient was negligently discharged.  The expert would review the patient’s medical records and offer an opinion. 

Such an expert might consider factors such as the illness suffered by the patient, his or her vital signs before and at the time of discharge, whether or not the patient is eating or urinating, etc.

Of course in some instances there are more hard and fast rules.  For example, new born babies must not be discharged prior to 48 hours after the birth.  This is the prescribed minimum medical standard.  It should not be shortened, but the circumstances may require it to be lengthened.  So even if a physician waited 48 hours to discharge the baby, a case for medical malpractice can still be maintained if the circumstances required a longer hospital stay.   

If the patient was discharged from the hospital too early and was subsequently injured directly because of the early discharge, the patient can ask a jury for compensation. 

But what do you think?  I would love to hear from you!  Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected]  You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com

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