Hospitals put patients at risk by “dumping” them

Residents of Louisiana, as well as the rest of the country, expect a certain level of care when they go to the hospital. It is not unreasonable to expect to be treated with respect and dignity, whether the diagnosis or prognosis is good or bad. Sadly, it would seem that there is a trend among some hospitals to discharge patients before it is medically or physically safe to do so, regardless of a law that is supposed to protect patients from this type of treatment.

Recently, a woman who had gone to a hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, was taken out of the building by security guards, wearing only a hospital gown and socks on a freezing night, and left at a bus stop. The woman appeared to be unable to care for herself, let alone find her way home on a bus. A man who had witnessed the incident called police, and the woman was readmitted to the hospital until staff was able to relocate her to a homeless shelter. Her family, who claimed she had mental illness issues and had been missing for two weeks, picked her up from the shelter.

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. Numerous claims of “patient dumping” have come from hospitals across the country. In one case, a diabetic man sued the hospital after he was discharged despite not being able to walk, and he was struck by a car and permanently injured when he stumbled into the road. He claimed that hospital staff had given him bus tokens and told him how to get home on his own.

A 1986 law prohibits patients from being released into an unsafe environment. Those who suffer this sort of treatment may have legal recourse.

Source: The Washington Post, "He saw a dazed woman put out in the cold by a Baltimore hospital. He started filming.," John Woodrow Cox, Theresa Vargas and Justin Wm. Moyer, Jan. 12, 2018

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