Many patients can’t wait to be discharged from the hospital and feel that they are just wasting money by staying. Doctors have a responsibility to decide whether or not a patient is medically stable enough to be discharged. What happens when a doctor discharges a patient too soon, and they wind up having to be readmitted in worse condition than when they left? Is it medical malpractice?
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice involves any action, or inaction, by your doctor or other healthcare professional that causes you harm, and could conceivably have been avoided if another doctor had been in charge.
Not every mistake a doctor or hospital staff makes qualifies as medical malpractice. As with any other malpractice case you have to prove three key points.
- You were legitimately harmed.
- The doctor or hospital staff’s action, or inaction, caused you harm.
- It is reasonable to assume that another professional would have prevented the harm.
If the previous statements are true in your situation, you may have a viable case for medical malpractice.
An important thing to remember is that just because you’ve been readmitted doesn’t necessarily mean that medical malpractice has occurred. It only qualifies if the delay in treatment caused you harm. If no legitimate harm was done to you, then your case may not qualify.
Why Would a Doctor Discharge Me Too Early?
Hospitals are notorious for always having a lack of beds and/or staff to handle the influx of new patients. In almost all cases, doctors who discharge patients too soon do so to make room for new patients or to keep numbers down so that the hospital staff is not stretched too thin.
While this may sound like an unavoidable problem, that is not always true. In fact, studies have shown that a lack of beds and staff is quite often a result of poor planning by the hospital.
If you or a loved one are discharged too soon, and are harmed because of it, you may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor, medical staff, and/or the hospital for:
- Failure to diagnose and treat
- Failure to do appropriate testing before discharge
- Failure to set up a necessary follow-up
- Failure to ensure medical safety
Talk to an experienced medical malpractice attorney to find out what legal options may be available to you. Making room for new patients is a poor excuse to discharge you too early and cause you pain.