Many people will require hospital care at some point. One of the most critical parts of hospital care is properly discharging patients. An unsafe discharge from the hospital can jeopardize your health and even threaten your life. But what is an unsafe discharge from hospital care exactly, and what can you do if you or a loved one is wrongly discharged?

Mistakes during the discharge process can lead your medical team to overlook signs that it is not safe to release you home. If these signs go unnoticed, you are the one who can suffer additional harm. For Florida residents, it’s important to understand what is involved in an unsafe hospital discharge.

What Does It Mean to Have an Unsafe Discharge From Hospitals?

Your hospital stay ends when the hospital discharges you from their care and sends you home. After providing you with instructions regarding how to care for yourself at home and when to follow up with your provider, hospital staff will generally take you by wheelchair to the hospital’s entrance.

From there, you will be allowed to get into a personal vehicle and be driven home. This completes the hospital discharge process.

Before a hospital will discharge you, however, it needs to ensure you are in a stable enough condition to go home safely. This requires the hospital to verify that your vital signs are stable and are not fluctuating.

If you underwent surgery, your medical team will need to verify that the surgical wound has sufficiently healed such that it is not likely to reopen after you leave the hospital. When it comes time to discharge you from the hospital, staff must safely disconnect you from any monitoring equipment and remove any IV lines that were inserted.

The last act the hospital must complete before you are officially released from their care is ensuring you safely leave their property. This is the reason why your nursing staff will often insist they take you by wheelchair to the front of the hospital and assist you into your vehicle.

When these checks and procedures are not followed, an unsafe discharge from the hospital can occur. Determining what is an unsafe discharge from hospital care involves evaluating whether you were released from the hospital in a condition where you were unreasonably susceptible to injury, complications, or infection.

What Can Happen After an Unsafe Discharge?

Your specific risks following an unsafe discharge will depend on why you were at the hospital and what safety precautions hospital staff failed to take before releasing you.

For example, suppose that the hospital staff did not verify your surgical wound was healing properly before releasing you. This wound could open when you are at home, subjecting you to pain, bleeding, a longer healing time, and the risk of infection.

Other possible consequences of an unsafe discharge include:

  • Injuring yourself in a slip and fall or trip and fall while leaving the hospital
  • An unsafe drop in blood pressure or other vital signs
  • An improperly healed wound reopening and becoming infected
  • IVs or needles being left in your body and becoming inflamed and infected
  • Development of a bacterial or viral infection

These and other situations can be life-threatening and require that you immediately return to a medical facility. You can be subject to additional hospitalization, surgeries, and procedures, which can cause increased costs, discomfort, and time missed from work.

How a Skilled Medical Malpractice Attorney Can Help You Pursue Compensation for Your Injuries

A medical malpractice claim filed with the assistance of an experienced attorney cannot undo the physical and emotional suffering you endured from your unsafe hospital discharge. However, a claim can help you receive the financial assistance and support you need to navigate beyond the incident.

A successful malpractice claim can allow you to receive damages that address the cost of any follow-up medical care you need, including the costs of surgery, hospitalization, and medical treatment. You could also recover compensation for the wages you missed from work because you needed additional care following your unsafe discharge.

Finally, suppose that what is an unsafe discharge from hospital care leads you to suffer long-lasting or permanent impairments or disabilities. In this situation, a successful claim could provide you with compensation for future or ongoing needs you might have.

FAQs About Unsafe Discharges From the Hospital

What Is an Unsafe Discharge From Hospital Care?

An unsafe discharge occurs when a hospital releases a patient without first taking reasonable steps to ensure the patient is physically healthy enough to leave the hospital.

I Checked Myself Out of the Hospital Against My Doctor’s Orders — Do I Have a Claim for Damages?

Possibly. If your doctor did not adequately explain the risks of an early discharge to you or did not ensure you were of sound mind before releasing you, this could constitute malpractice. You might also have a claim if your medical team did not give you adequate follow-up instructions and warnings before discharging you.

I Was Unsafely Discharged From the Hospital Ten Years Ago — Can I File a Malpractice Claim?

The statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims in Florida is generally two years from the date you received deficient care. However, there are some limited exceptions that might apply. The only way to know for sure is to have a qualified medical malpractice lawyer examine your situation in detail.

Speak to a Skilled Florida Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one has suffered complications following a premature or unsafe discharge from the hospital, you may be entitled to significant compensation for your losses. At Ratzan Weissman & Boldt, our focused, boutique firm has obtained more than half a billion dollars for our clients.

We can help you hold your medical team accountable for your injuries and the harm they caused you. Contact us to speak with a Miami medical malpractice lawyer today.