Anyone who has been hospitalized understands the longing for home. Hospitals are renowned for the unusual smells, sometimes questionable food, poor sleeping patterns, cranky roommates, and mediocre room service. After even a short stay in a hospital bed, many are quick to start questioning how quickly they can expect to return home. Under the care of an upstanding medical professional, you will likely be advised to stay until you become healthy enough for an unsupervised, non-controlled environment. However, early hospital discharge is a growing epidemic that is putting patients’ lives in danger and creating the possibility of medical malpractice suits.
When to Go Home
Determining when a patient should be sent home can be a difficult decision. However, that is up to the doctor and the patient to decide together. The patient knows their body better than anyone while a physician can determine what symptoms and conditions should be monitored. Working together, they put together a comprehensive picture of the situation. The patient may be ready to go home if:
- Any acute or emergency condition has been stabilized;
- There is little danger of the issue recurring quickly; and
- Follow-up medical treatment is understood and well-planned.
Disadvantages of Being Sent Home Early
There are several benefits for the hospital if physicians send patients home early. The theory works similarly that in effect at most restaurants: the faster you take them in and get them out, the more patients that can be seen, resulting in increased revenue for everyone offering hospital services. While a patient may be excited to leave and regain their independence and the hospital may be anxious to give the bed to another patient in need, there are several reasons to reconsider a discharge, including:
- Medical assistance is readily available at the hospital in case of a recurrence;
- Hospitals are controlled environments that are better-suited than most homes for healing free from added germs; and
- If other symptoms arise, the appearance can be documented and addressed immediately.
Your Recourse for Early Discharge
If you choose to go home early against the orders of the doctor, the discharge papers require a signature to verify that you understand the risk taken. However, if you are being asked to leave regardless of the circumstances and as a patient, you do not feel safe going home, let your doctor know this in no uncertain terms. Your physician should be your advocate and a part of a team. If you are still being asked to leave, and something goes wrong at home, that doctor can be held responsible for any added injury or trauma.
To discuss your case with an experienced Kane County medical malpractice attorney, contact our offices. Call Kinnally Flaherty Loran Hodge & Masur, P.C., today at 630-907-0909 to schedule your free consultation. We will provide the guidance and representation you need as you seek the compensation you deserve.