Statistics on Fatalities from Wrongful Hospital Discharge
When a loved one is discharged from the hospital, you trust that health care providers made the right decision. In the majority of situations, the hospital discharge is proper, and patients go home to a successful recovery. Unfortunately, the opposite is true in some cases, which can lead to tragic consequences. A National Institutes of Health publication on fatalities from wrongful discharge reveals that more than 10,000 patients die within seven days after being discharged from the hospital. As you might expect, age is a factor, with a mean age at death of 69 years old.
However, you might be surprised to learn that the NIH reports a “substantial” number of patient deaths occurred soon after discharge from the ER – despite the fact that there was no diagnosis of a serious medical condition. These and other statistics are troubling, so you should contact a Florida medical malpractice lawyer if you have concerns about a loved one who passed away after being sent home from the hospital. Some information on wrongful discharge may help you understand some of the basic concepts.
Causes and Complications Behind Wrongful Hospital Discharge: Generally speaking, hospitals often face situations of overcrowding, when they cannot keep up with staffing to support more than their capacity based upon the number of beds. As a result, administration and health care providers are under pressure to rush patients out – and bring in new ones.
Patients may be wrongfully discharged from the hospital when:
- Staff and practitioners fail to schedule a follow-up visit necessary to support the patient’s recovery;
- Providers do not conduct proper testing to ensure the patient is healthy enough to be discharged;
- Hospital personnel neglect to make sure the patient’s medical condition is either cured or stable before release;
- A physician misdiagnoses or fails to diagnose a serious ailment;
- There are no discharge instructions, directions for at-home care, or medications prescribed for a medical condition; and
- Many other mistakes and oversights.
What To Do If You Lost a Loved One Through Discharge Errors: If family member dies because of a health care provider’s mistake in ordering discharge, survivors may have legal remedies through a wrongful death claim. You need to prove the elements of medical malpractice, but you also need to establish that you have “standing” – a legal term that means you have the right to sue based upon your relationship to the decedent. In a Florida wrongful death case, the personal representative of the victim’s estate has standing to seek monetary damages on behalf of the surviving spouse, children, and certain other relatives.
Contact a Florida Medical Malpractice Attorney Right Away
It may be too late to go back and demand that your loved one remain hospitalized, but you still have the opportunity to hold health care providers accountable for their mistakes in authorizing a wrongful discharge. To learn more about your rights in a case based upon this type of medical negligence, please contact the Miami medical malpractice lawyers at Freidin Brown, P.A. We can set up a free consultation to review your circumstances.