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Overview of Medical Malpractice Claims for Wrongful Hospital or Emergency Room Discharge


If a hospital or emergency room discharges a patient without making the appropriate diagnosis or taking certain actions, and that failure leads to a preventable injury or death, then the patient or their family may be able to bring a claim for medical malpractice.  Wrongful discharge from the hospital or ER may not be at the top of the list when you think of medical malpractice claims, but the situation can have serious health consequences for a patient. Sending a person home with an incorrect diagnosis or before he or she stabilizes is a type of medical mistake, and it may be possible to hold a health care provider accountable for any losses you or your family may suffer. While it is important to discuss the specific facts of your particular situation with a Florida medical malpractice lawyer, here is an overview of Hospital/ER discharge cases our firm handles. 

What is Wrongful Discharge from a Hospital or Emergency Room?

If a hospital or emergency room’s healthcare providers do not properly diagnose or stabilize you or your family member before discharging that patient, there can be grave risks or injuries that result once they leave the hospital.  The patient may need to be readmitted to the hospital, the condition may worsen, or the injury and recovery period could be increased.

For example, if a patient presents to a hospital emergency room with symptoms of a stroke or heart attack, and the doctors or nurses fail to properly diagnose and/or treat the condition before discharge, then the hospital could be liable for the resulting injuries to the patient.  

Wrongful Discharge and Medical Malpractice Claims 

A provider may make a mistake in improperly discharging you from the hospital, but not every medical error rises to the level of malpractice. To prove medical malpractice, you must show that the decision to release you deviates from the standard of care that applies to all health care practitioners in that area.  In short, providers must make medical decisions in accordance with what other reasonably careful doctors or nurses in the same situation would do.

Therefore, if the hospital or ER personnel released you in a situation where another doctor, under the same circumstances would not, you may have a claim for medical malpractice for any injuries you suffered as a result.  However, it is important to note that you must also show that the hospital discharge was the “but for” cause of your injuries.  This means that “but for” the premature discharge, you would not have suffered the injuries. 

Examples of Wrongful Discharge from the Hospital 

The signs that you were improperly released from the hospital may not be so clear. However, some indicators of an improper or wrongful discharge are:

  • You didn’t receive any after-care instructions
  • You were discharged without undergoing any diagnostic testing
  • You were released before your lab, imaging, or other test results are available
  • No one scheduled you for a follow up appointment
  • You never received a diagnosis for your medical condition
  • You are still suffering from severe symptoms
  • You were not examined by a physician before being discharged

Contact a Florida Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today 

Wrongful discharge from the hospital or Emergency Room may amount to a medical mistake, which may be actionable under medical malpractice laws in Florida. However, not all errors amount to liability, so it’s important to consult with a skilled attorney regarding your specific circumstances. For more information on your rights and remedies, please contact Freidin Brown, P.A. We handle cases throughout the State of Florida, and can schedule a free consultation with a medical malpractice lawyer at our offices in Miami or Fort Myers.




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