Early Hospital Discharges Cause Serious Harm


When a patient has been discharged from the hospital early, he or she can suffer injury.  If the patient has a serious medical condition, there will not be a doctor immediately available to treat any problems that may come up.  These patients may need to be readmitted to a care facility.

Here are different reasons a hospital may discharge a patient too early.  The hospital may be overcrowded.  As a result they may rush to get current patients discharged so that they can admit new patients.  There may also be concerns regarding the number of beds or staff available to care for patients.  Additionally, the hospital may also be limited in the surgical volume it is able to manage at any given time.  These types of shortages tend to be the result of the hospital’s poor planning.

Patients who have been discharged early and as a result have been injured, a claim that patient may make could include the argument that the defendant(s):

  • Did not schedule a necessary follow-up visit,
  • Did not diagnose and treat their condition properly,
  • Did not conduct appropriate testing before discharge, and/or
  • Did not ensure the patient was medically stable.

Proving a medical malpractice claim is not easy.  In almost every case the patient will need an expert witness to testify on their behalf should the case make it to trial.  The expert witness will generally need to be trained and have experience in the same field as the health care professional who discharged the patient.  Additionally, he or she will need to testify that the decision to discharge did not meet the standard of care under the circumstances.  The expert will also need to show in detail how the patient was injured because of the decision to discharge him or her early.

There are a variety of possible damages a patient can recover including:

  • Medical Bills (only the bills that the patient would not have incurred had it not been for the early discharge)
  • Lost Earnings (if the patient missed work because of their early discharge, it is possible he or she could recover the income they lost at that time)
  • Lost Ability to Earn an Income (harm that results from early discharge can lead to an inability to perform certain work activities.  A patient may be able to obtain compensation for this monetary loss)
  • Pain and Suffering (this loss is based on how severe and permanent the harm suffered was due to the early discharge)

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 jfisher@fishermalpracticelaw.com.  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.