Early Hospital Discharge: Is It Medical Malpractice?

If you’ve ever had to spend time at a hospital, either as a patient or while supporting a loved one, you know that they aren’t exactly fun. For many people, the moment when they’re discharged cannot come quickly enough. But while no one necessarily wants to stay at a hospital, a premature discharge can have dangerous consequences.

What Does It Mean To Be Discharged?

When someone gets discharged, it means they no longer require outpatient care. In some circumstances, the patient may be able to return to their home. Others might move to a different facility, like a rehab center. Hospitals primarily serve people who require a high level of care, like someone who needs surgery after a heart attack. Once they do not require such immediate and intense care, they are discharged. This also frees up hospital space, ensuring that people with critical conditions are receiving the care and attention they need.

Reasons for Premature Discharge

Due to these reasons, a hospital discharge is usually positive news for a patient and their family. However, sometimes a patient may be discharged before they are fully ready. Early discharge can occur for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Mistakes caused by overcrowding or understaffing
  • Lack of communication among hospital staff
  • An improper diagnosis
  • Improper testing or scans

In many cases of premature discharge, it is likely the result of human error rather than a deliberate decision to harm a patient. However, in a hospital setting, even a simple error, like an improperly read blood test, can have consequences.

Is An Early Discharge Medical Malpractice?

If a patient suffers as the result of an early discharge, it may fall under the umbrella of medical malpractice. Like with other medical malpractice cases, the patient must show that the early discharge caused harm. For example, if a patient dies of a blood infection after a doctor misreads their tests and discharges them, it could be a case. On the other hand, if someone is simply unhappy with their early discharge, they would likely not have a medical malpractice claim.

While a hospital discharge is usually a good thing, a premature discharge due to a mistake, misreading, or miscommunication can lead to more harm for a recovering patient. If you have suffered as the result of a too-early discharge from the hospital, consider reaching out to a medical malpractice attorney.


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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