Premature hospital discharge claims

Introduction

Updated: October 8, 2018

Being sent home too early from hospital can have significant health repercussions. In some cases, it may amount to a medical negligence claim.

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Premature discharge from hospital lead to unnecessarily prolonged illness, it can also lead to other more serious complications.

Patients who have suffered as a result of a hospital discharge which is considered unreasonably early, or to have exposed them to unreasonable risk, may be entitled to seek compensation. Proving that the patient's condition or worsening condition was the result of hospital negligence is crucial to making a successful claim.

Doctor discharging patient

Do I have a claim for premature hospital discharge?

If you have suffered as a result of premature hospital discharge in the last three years (longer if children were involved) and someone else was to blame, then we can help you make a compensation claim.

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Understanding premature discharge from hospital

The growing hospital readmission rate in the UK is a indicator that many patients may be sent home from hospital prematurely.

Figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show that, in 2013, there were more than a million emergency readmissions in England alone. This was a 27 percent increase from the previous year.

According to the HSCIC, the most common injuries or illnesses that prompt readmission include hip fractures, strokes and hysterectomies.

These relapses have largely been attributed to inadequate discharge and follow-up arrangements.

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Dangerous discharge from hospital

Premature discharge can also include dangerous discharge. 'Dangerous discharge' describes when patients are not only signed out to leave early, but also are required to leave abruptly without appropriate steps being taken to ensure their safety.

There have been cases of patients being discharged in the middle of night and without any controls in place to ensure they can get home safely or have appropriate care set up when they do arrive home.

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Proving an untimely discharge

For a patient who has suffered as a result of premature discharge, whether this means a hospital readmission or not, the first step in making a successful claim is proving that the discharge was indeed premature that additional suffering was caused as a direct result of the discharge.

Hospitals must have strict procedures in place to ensure that a patient is genuinely ready to leave.

Due to the high demand for beds and shrinking budgets, decisions that are inappropriate or unsafe are sometimes made. These decisions to discharge may amount to clinical negligence.

Not every one of these inappropriate decisions will be deemed negligent. The questions that will be asked to determine negligence may include:

  • Did the hospital staff's actions fall under the accepted standard of medical care
  • Would another similar-skilled medical practitioner or hospital have discharged the patient given their condition?

Failings that could be considered to amount to negligence include:

  • Failure to make any follow-up appointments
  • Failure to diagnose or properly treat
  • Failure to conduct proper medical tests
  • Failure to ensure the patient was medically stable

During the claims process, a medical expert will be able to provide detailed information on how you were harmed as a result of premature discharge.

Your solicitor will be able to answer any questions you have regarding this at the outset of your claim. To speak to a specialist solicitor about your potential claim, call us on 0800 612 7456, or request a callback.

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Calculate my premature hospital discharge compensation

The amount of compensation you will receive depends on a number of factors. Our medical negligence compensation calculator provides an accurate estimate of your likely compensation.

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Meet the QLS team

The nationwide network of Quittance solicitors handle all types of clinical negligence claims, from less-severe claims to life-changing injury. Selected for their track record in recovering compensation, our lawyers have years of dedicated experience handling claims on behalf of injured claimants.

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Kevin Walker Serious Injury Panel Solicitor
Carol Cook Clinical Negligence Panel Solicitor
Lee Raynor Clinical Negligence Panel Solicitor
Jenny Jones, Senior litigator

About the author

With over 20 years' experience in the law, Jenny has spent the last decade specialising in personal injury, with a particular focus on industrial disease cases.

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