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Doctors make the decision to send patients home from the hospital every day; in most cases, sending a patient home is the right decision. Sometimes, however, the patient is readmitted days later because of their unstable condition. If you were discharged from the hospital only to be readmitted days later and suffered further injury as a result, you may be an early discharge victim.
If you feel that your early discharge may have been the result of negligence, contact an early discharge injury lawyer as soon as possible. A skilled early discharge injury lawyer can explain your rights, suggest next steps, and help you recover the maximum compensation you are entitled to for your suffering and injury.
EARLY DISCHARGE FAQS
A doctor’s decision to discharge a patient is typically the correct course of action. It is possible, however, that to free up beds for other sick and injured patients, the doctor or the hospital where he or she works may have decided to discharge a patient too soon. Even if a patient meets a hospital’s checklist criterion for discharge, a discharge may not be appropriate under that patient’s specific circumstances.
Hospitals have been more careful about early discharge in recent years, mainly to avoid financial penalty. Still, premature discharges sometimes happen, so if you believe you are a victim of an early discharge, contact an early discharge lawyer today to assess your case.
How Do I Know if I Was Discharged Too Early?
You may have felt uneasy about your doctor’s decision to discharge you, but this does not mean you were necessarily discharged too early. The following is a list of signs that usually indicate a patient has been prematurely discharged:
- The patient cannot get in and out of bed on their own.
- The patient cannot keep food down.
- The patient does not have normal bowel/bladder function.
- The patient still requires IV medication.
- The patient’s home is not adequately set up to meet their post-stay needs.
- The patient is unable to get their medication due to insurance coverage issues.
If your circumstances are similar to one or more of those listed above, contact a medical malpractice lawyer immediately. She can assess the details of your case and provide guidance on taking the next steps in the pursuit of your claim.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is a type of civil claim that involves a professional’s negligence. It occurs when a healthcare professional or provider neglects to provide appropriate treatment, omits to take an appropriate action, or gives substandard treatment that causes harm, injury, or death to a patient.
Healthcare professionals and providers have a duty to provide a certain standard of care, recognized by the profession, to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their patients. When a medical professional deviates from this standard, they may be held liable for any resulting harm.
Can I Sue for an Early Discharge?
An early discharge is not always the result of medical malpractice. Sometimes, what may seem like a premature discharge is simply what a doctor decided was the best course of action for the patient given his or her current condition. Patients may end up readmitted for entirely unforeseen reasons, as doctors are fallible and cannot predict the future.
There are many reasons that a doctor or hospital may discharge a patient too soon. The hospital may have limited staff, they may have too high a volume, or they may be concerned about the number of beds that are available. Though these reasons sound unpreventable, they are usually due to a hospital’s poor planning and can be the basis for a medical malpractice claim.
For you to have a claim of medical malpractice due to premature discharge, you must show that your physician or provider acted negligently, and that such negligence resulted in a premature discharge which caused you harm. If you believe you have been injured by substandard medical care, you must prove:
- the existence of a doctor-patient relationship or a standard duty of care;
- the healthcare provider was “negligent,” meaning that the care provided was below the prevailing standard of care within the medical profession;
- you suffered injury as a result of negligent medical care; and
- you suffered damages as a result of that injury.
A case for medical malpractice, regardless of the basis for the claim, usually hinges on the second and third elements: Was the doctor or facility negligent, and did the negligence result in harm?
Was the Doctor or Facility Negligent?
For the doctor or facility to be negligent, you must prove that they fell below the standard of care required in the medical profession. A facility may be negligent if they discharged you due to lack of beds, staff, or other planning issues. A doctor may be negligent if he or she failed to recognize or ignored symptoms which would indicate that a patient needed to stay hospitalized.
In most cases you will need an expert witness to testify on your behalf. This expert will typically need to be trained and experienced in the same field as the healthcare professional who discharged you and can assess whether or not the decision to discharge you fell below the medical standard of care under the circumstances.
Did the Early Discharge Result in Harm?
To prove harm, a patient must prove the doctor’s negligence in prematurely discharging him or her caused the patient’s injury or condition to occur or worsen. A common example involves a patient who does not have adequate care at home to continue to heal from a broken hip injury. Upon discharge, this person may injure themselves performing daily tasks, such as standing to cook or going to the bathroom, since they do not have adequate assistance at home. They may slip or fall, creating a new injury that requires further hospitalization.
If you believe your doctor has provided substandard care by discharging you too early, resulting in harm, contact a medical malpractice attorney near you as soon as possible to discuss your case.
Is There a Time Limit to When I Can Sue?
If you are an early discharge victim, there is a limited amount of time in which you can bring a medical malpractice lawsuit. You must file your claim within the time limit, so it is important for an early discharge victim to contact a medical malpractice lawyer right away to get their claim started. If you wait too long to file your claim, you may forfeit your right to file your lawsuit altogether.
Each state has their own time limits for how long you have to file your medical malpractice lawsuit. These time limits are called statutes of limitations, and they differ from state to state. In each state there are also exceptions to each statute that may apply to either extend or toll (pause) the limitation period. To understand how the statute of limitations works in your state, speak to a personal injury attorney in your area.
RECOVERY OF DAMAGES
As an early discharge victim, you can recover for costs in a medical malpractice lawsuit through compensatory damages. Compensatory damages cover two types of damages: economic and noneconomic. Economic damages are the financial costs associated with your premature discharge, while noneconomic damages cover non-countable injuries like pain and suffering.
Costs that can be recovered include but are not limited to:
- Current and past medical costs
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death
Is There a Limit to What I Can Recover?
Though being an early discharge victim can impose a heavy financial burden on your life, there may be a limit on the amount of money you can recover for your suffering. Some states impose recovery limits or “damage caps” on the amount of non-economic damages (such as pain and suffering) you can recover. There are 37 states and territories that place a cap on damages, while 17 do not. Speak with a personal injury lawyer in your state to discuss the possible limitations on your compensatory damages.
How Zinda LAW GROUP Can Help You
If you have suffered further injury or illness due to an early discharge, you may feel lost concerning what to do next. Our experienced early discharge injury lawyers at Zinda Law Group can assist you with recovering the costs associated with your injury. Our attorneys will guide you through the complex legal system and claims process associated with medical malpractice to help ensure you receive the maximum compensation you are entitled to.
Furthermore, if you have lost a loved one who suffered from an early discharge injury, call Zinda Law Group today at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with one of our medical malpractice lawyers. We will take care of the legal work so you can focus on yourself and your family while you recover from your injury. If we do not win your case, you will not pay any fees; this is our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.