Denver Lawyers for Premature Hospital Discharge
If You Are Discharged From a Hospital Too Soon, It May Be Medical Malpractice
In the United States, patients are admitted to hospitals over 35 million times every year, and pushed back out nearly as often. Hospitals try to turn over beds as quickly as they can, both for profit and for space. But when an attending physician sends you home before it is medically safe to do so, it is a breach of the hospital’s duty to the patient.
Whether you were sent home too early from an emergency room, ICU, post-op, psychiatric hold, or another department, and you suffered serious harm or a worsening of your condition before being readmitted, you may have a legal claim against that hospital. Speak to our top trial lawyers at Leventhal Puga Braley P.C. in a no-cost initial consultation. Our number is (877) 433-3906, and we take medical malpractice lawsuits across the United States.
What Can Go Wrong with an Early Discharge?
It’s been found that people who are discharged from intensive care units early are more likely to succumb to their injuries or illness; a classic study tells us that 20% of patients experience adverse events within three weeks of discharge – and about 75% of those events were preventable. The cost of rehospitalization in the U.S. is high, and the physical damage of an early discharge has an even higher cost.
Common post discharge complications include, but are not limited to:
- Adverse drug events
- Hospital-acquired infections (HAIs), which worsen at home
- Procedural complications, such as surgical site infections
- Deterioration related to the original condition for which the patient was hospitalized
Why Do Hospitals Discharge Patients Too Early?
The same classic study tells us that around 40% of patients are discharged with test results still pending. We’ve found that this can result in:
- Failures to communicate: Hospitals will often shift a patient to outpatient care to complete a diagnostic workup, but many things get lost in the transition. Traditional communication systems, such as the dictated discharge summary, often lack vital information and fail to reach outpatient providers in time.
- Lack of medication reconciliation: Patients often receive new or altered medications while in inpatient care. Before discharge, these prescriptions must be cross-checked to ensure no critical medications were stopped and to ensure the safety of new drugs.
- Bad policies: For example, it is agreed in the medical profession that newborn infants should be kept for at least 48 hours to ensure they are stable before releasing them. But this dictum is rarely followed in practice. Many hospitals do use a standard checklist before discharging a patient, but fail to take into account other signs or symptoms, or encourage doctors to simply check boxes without following the steps. Did the attending doctor speak with specialists and nurses working on the same patient, or speak to the patient himself, before ordering the discharge?
- Flawed scheduling: Whether it leads to overcrowding or understaffing, short-sighted scheduling – especially in labor and delivery wards – flawed scheduling can lead to early discharge, as well as poor aftercare instructions. For a vulnerable new mother, this can result in maternal mortality.
- Internal errors: We have seen missing or misread lab results, patient mix-ups, a failure to document the patient’s symptoms and updates in his medical record, malfunctioning equipment that indicates the patient is healthier than they truly are, and so on.
In short, these errors are within both the doctors’ and the administrators’ purview and control. Administrative negligence can create systematic gaps for patients to fall through; doctors and nurses’ negligence can ignore dangerous signs and send patients out to die.
Whether your doctor failed to complete an examination to ensure your stability before the discharge or failed to give your family instructions for aftercare and potential warning signs, you should speak to a Denver medical malpractice attorney to see if you have a case.
How Can You Prove Medical Malpractice?
In short, you need expert help. These cases require expert witnesses; medical providers who are willing to take the stand and testify that what happened was not what a reasonable and competent medical professional would have done. Some states require an affidavit from your expert, attesting to your claim, before allowing a lawsuit against a medical center at all. Our law firm has handled many similar cases; we may be able to help you.
One of our clients went to the emergency room with a severe headache. Brain scans were misread as “normal,” no follow-ups were performed, and the hospital discharged her. Soon enough, she sustained massive cerebral hemorrhaging from an undiagnosed aneurysm. Had the ER doctor and radiologist done their jobs properly, she would not have been discharged and left to suffer alone; left paralyzed by a horrifying chain of negligence. After years of hard-fought litigation, Leventhal Puga & Braley P.C. won a $8.3 million jury verdict for our client.
There is no substitute for this kind of hard-fought experience. For over forty years, we’ve empathized with our clients, supported our clients, and battled in the legal trenches for our clients. If you or a loved one suffered serious harm after being discharged from a medical center, consult with our medical malpractice lawyers. Call Leventhal Puga & Braley P.C. for a free consultation at (303) 759-9945.
- Patient Safety During Hospital Discharge
- What to Do If You Feel the Hospital Is Discharging You Too Soon
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