Being admitted to the hospital is never an enjoyable experience. Whether you rushed your child to the emergency room in the middle of the night because of an extremely high fever, or you took your spouse to the hospital for a scheduled surgery, being at the hospital involves a certain degree of fear and anxiety for pretty much anyone. But regardless of the reason you or your loved one went to the hospital, there is a sense of peace knowing that things will be better once you go home. So, then what happens when a patient is discharged too soon and things take a dangerous turn?
If you or your loved one suffered from preventable injuries because of being discharged from the hospital too soon, you may have a legitimate case of medical malpractice.
What Counts as Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when an individual is injured because he or she did not receive medical care that met the accepted standards placed upon doctors, nurses, and all other healthcare professionals. In order to evaluate whether or not you have a case of medical malpractice, there is one important question that must be asked.
Given the same condition and situation, would another healthcare provider have made the same decision to discharge the patient? If the answer is no, then you may want to consult with a legal professional to dig a little deeper into the situation.
How Can a Patient Be Discharged Too Soon?
The fact of the matter is that hospitals can frequently become very chaotic places. With both scheduled and emergency patients coming and going at all hours of the day, doctors and nurses have their hands full when it comes to treating individuals. While most hospitals have strict protocols in place to keep the healthcare providers organized and patients safe, not all institutions are the best at implementing these best practices. Unfortunately, this is where patients can quickly slip through the cracks. If someone fails to make an important note in a medical chart, or if someone else forgets to check on a patient, an individual can mistakenly get discharged too soon.
In other instances, some hospitals may even make a deliberate decision to discharge a patient too quickly. Realistically, each hospital only has but so much space. There are a limited number of hospital beds, a limited number of spaces in the emergency room, and a limited number of doctors and nurses who can treat these patients. If a hospital is overcrowded or its staff overworked, patients may be discharged sooner than they should be in order to relieve some of the burden or make space for others. Unfortunately, this decision can have catastrophic results for those who fail to get the proper medical care they deserve.
How Can I Prove Medical Malpractice?
If you believe that you or your loved one were injured after being discharged from the hospital too soon, it is time to consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. One of the tricky things about this type of lawsuit is that it can often be difficult to prove that negligence was a factor. Doctors and nurses are human, so there will never be a time where mistakes are completely eliminated. Additionally, the healthcare providers responsible for the discharge may have truly believed, in their professional opinion, that the patient was ready to leave the hospital.
Your lawyer will likely consult with a medical expert to assist with all details of your case, and some of the first questions that will need to be addressed include:
- Did the hospital staff fail to properly treat the condition?
- Was the hospital staff negligent in diagnosing the condition?
- Did the healthcare providers fail to schedule a follow-up appointment, if necessary?
- Was essential testing to ensure health and safety withheld from the patient?
- Did the hospital staff neglect to perform a thorough examination to ensure the patient was stable enough to be discharged?
What Type of Legal Action Can I Pursue?
Suffering from a severe injury after being discharged too soon is not a matter to take lightly, and you have every right to pursue legal action for the damages you have experienced.
Ross Feller Casey is among the leading medical malpractice law firms in the country. With a team of on-staff doctors who have trained at Ivy League institutions, Ross Feller Casey has an unmatched record of winning record-setting medical malpractice lawsuits, including those involving patients who were discharged from hospitals too soon. For a free evaluation of your case, contact the team at Ross Feller Casey today.