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The problem of premature discharges

On Behalf of | Feb 12, 2022 | Medical Malpractice

Residents of Massachusetts who are victims of medical malpractice can find their lives forever changed. One of the ways malpractice can occur is through a premature hospital discharge.

What is medical malpractice?

Medical malpractice refers to negligence on the part of a doctor or other health care professional that results in harm to patients. It can occur due to a mistake or reckless behavior. However, not all medical mistakes constitute medical malpractice. In order to have a legitimate claim, the mistake must be below the expected standard of care. The patient must have also suffered harm.

What is premature discharge and how can it hurt patients?

Hospitals are often busy, accommodating new patients coming and going. As a result, it’s common to discharge patients already in the hospital to allow new ones to come in. Unfortunately, that means that at times, a patient may be prematurely discharged. Premature discharges can harm patients through the following ways:

• Failing to schedule a follow-up for the patient
• Failing to properly diagnose and treat the patient
• Failing to conduct the necessary tests before the discharge
• Failing to ensure that the patient is medically stable for discharge

How can patients prove premature discharge led to medical malpractice?

Premature hospital discharge cases require the testimony of an expert witness if the case goes to trial. An expert witness must be a medical professional who has the same level of training as the health care professional who discharged the patient from the hospital. They must testify to prove that the discharge was premature and directly led to the patient suffering harm due to a substandard level of care versus the accepted level of care.

Damages that could be recovered in this type of medical malpractice case include medical expenses, ongoing medical treatment, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and more.

In the worst-case scenario, a patient could die. In that situation, the surviving family members would have a right to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the hospital or medical professional who discharged their loved one prematurely.