Is it medcial malpractice to release a mother from the hospital after

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is it medcial malpractice to release a mother from the hospital after

About 6 hours after release, the mother ended up in the E.R. with extreme stomach pains. The E.R. stated the only option was to put a tube down her nose to suck out air from stomach, only to have a suppository 2 days later and gas/bowel to be moved.

Asked on November 5, 2018 under Malpractice Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Whether this is malpractice or not is really more of a medical or legal question in a way. The legal definition of malpractice is medical care that is careless or negligent, or does not reach contemporary/current expectations or standards for such care. So the question becomes, was it careless to let her go home then? Are doctors supposed to wait for a bowel movement before releasing her? Would the average reasonable doctor have let her go home at that time, given the condition she appeared to be in? 
If a reasonable doctor would let her go home under those conditions, then even though she ended up having difficulty, there would be no malpractice; the doctor, in doing what was expected, did nothing wrong.
If the average reasonable doctor, however, would not have let her go home then, then this may well have been malpractice.
So the question is: what should they have done? And that question is answered by other doctors, with reference to the guidelines or standards for care in this situation. What have other doctors said about the level or standard of care, or about whether she should hae been released?

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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