Discharging patients inappropriately

18 May 2012

We have all read the horror stories about hospitals discharging patients to free up much-needed beds and facilities, only for patients to be readmitted with their conditions worsened or on the verge of critical. It’s the unacceptable reality of hospital resource management. 

Recent reports in the newspapers of patients being discharged in the middle of the night are borne out by Kingsley Napley’s experience. 

We have investigated and acted for a number of Claimants where they have been discharged inappropriately causing injury.  Examples include ignoring complaints of pain that were later found to come from a perforated bowel, failing to diagnose meningitis and ignoring concerns of parents that their baby was not feeding.  Lack of feeding in the newborn can cause hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) which, if left untreated can lead to brain damage.  Kingsley Napley has had several cases arising from this; an injury that could have been avoided if parental concerns had been acted upon.

Early discharge is clearly not always in the best interests of the patient. Despite the pressures on healthcare services, patients should not be treated as if they were on a conveyor belt and real care should be taken over the decision to discharge, considering all the risks to the patient.

If you or a member of your family may have been affected by being inappropriately discharged from hospital, please get in touch with our Clinical Negligence team

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