Is it medical malpractice if you are discharged too soon from the hospital? How can you tell that you have been discharged from the hospital too early?
Occasionally, a doctor may make the decision to discharge you early, before you are stable enough health wise to go home. If they send you home before it is medically safe to do so, then you could sue the hospital for medical malpractice.
How To Define Medical Malpractice
Not every mistake done at the hospital can be defined as medical malpractice. In order for an action or inaction to be classified as medical malpractice, it must fall below the accepted standard of medical care and it must result in some harm to you.
Standard medical care is the legal term used to explain the level of care that a health care professional with similar skills would provide to you under similar circumstances.
Is It Medical Malpractice If You Are Discharged Too Soon From The Hospital?
The answer to this question depends on if another doctor would have done the same thing under similar circumstances given your condition. If the answer is no, then you may have a viable medical malpractice lawsuit.
Keep in mind that simply because you were re-admitted, it means that some sort of medical malpractice was committed. It also doesn’t mean that you were “harmed” because you were discharged early.
If you are readmitted in the hospital and you receive the same type of treatment you would have received had you remained at the hospital, and the delayed treatment did not result in any harm, then there is no malpractice that has been committed. You may feel inconvenienced and annoyed but you are not a medical malpractice victim.
Reasons A Hospital May Discharge You Early
Hospitals try to avoid overcrowding so they try as much as possible to discharge patients who are eligible so that they can take in new ones. Their main concern is the number of beds, staff, equipment, etc. available. The amount of surgical volume a hospital can handle can also limit the number of patients it can manage at a given time.
While some of the factors that make hospitals discharge patients early are genuine issues, studies show that shortages in hospitals are due to poor planning on the hospitals’ part.
Is it medical malpractice if you are discharged too soon? Yes, you can sue for medical malpractice if the discharge results in harm. You can argue that the hospital/doctor:
- Failed to ensure that you were medically stable before discharging you
- Did not conduct proper tests before discharging you
- Did not properly diagnose your condition and treat you
- Did not schedule a follow up visit to ensure your health was fairing on well
How To Prove Your Claim
If your case makes it to trial, you will need an expert witness to testify on your behalf. An expert witness is a person who is experienced and trained in the same area of expertise as the health care worker who discharged you. They will testify that the decision to discharge you from the hospital prematurely did not meet medical standards of care. They will also prove that you were harmed as a result of being discharged prematurely.
How To Avoid Being Discharged Prematurely
To avoid being discharged prematurely, there are certain steps that you can take.
- If you’re ability to take care of yourself is limited or you are in pain, you should clearly express these concerns to your doctor.
- If you are concerned that you are being discharged early, speak to your attending physician and voice your concerns
- Ask for your discharge rights at the health facility
Hiring A Medical Malpractice Lawyer
If you are a victim of medical malpractice, you may be entitled to financial compensation under Massachusetts or Rhode Island law. It is important that you speak with a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.
Our law offices have skilled and licensed lawyers in both MA and RI. Our lawyers are knowledgeable about the laws governing cases similar to yours so you don’t have to worry about your case being handled by unprofessional lawyers.
We will provide you with a free initial consultation. Contact us today at (800)200-7752 or fill out our contact form.