Medical Malpractice Case Study

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I. Is a hospital liable for patients who fail to be compliant with discharge instructions?
II. No. A hospital cannot be held liable for patients who fail to be compliant with their discharge instructions.
III. Facts
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Township of Paulsboro, the patient Ernest Davis was discharged from the emergency room following an altercation outside a nightclub. The discharge instructions had head injury instructions listed, but were not checked by the physician. The ER physician discharged the patient as “fit for incarceration”. The patient later experienced problems in the jail and returned comatose. The patient later died. The suit alleged that the defendants violated EMTALA standards. The court sided with the defendants with a summary judgment citing the plaintiffs failure to prove EMTALA violations.
V. Conclusion that the Court reached.
In the Thierry case, the court reached its decision based upon the failure of the plaintiff to provide an expert witness to establish applicable standard of care and if there was a breach of that standard of care. The applicable burden of proof for a plaintiff in a medical malpractice case is found in La.R.S 9:2794 which provides that a plaintiff must establish the standard of care, the breach of that standard, and the causal connection related to that breach to resultant injuries.
In the Boone case, the court appealed to Van Steensburg v. Lawrence and Memorial Hospitals (1984), that decided that hospital rules, regulations and policies do not themselves establish the standard of care. Thus, the Plaintiffs failed to establish the standard of care, and could not link a breach of that standard to resultant
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The William W. Backus Hospital. Superior Court of Connecticut, Judicial District of New London, at New London, September 24, 2003.
Clark, C.; Friedman, S.; Shi, K.; Arenovich, T.; Monzon, J.; Culligan, C. (2005). Emergency Department discharge instructions comprehension and compliance study. The Journal of the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians, January (2005), 7 (1), p.5-11.
Earline Theirry, Et Vir v. State of Louisiana, through the Department of Health and Hospitals and University Medical Center of Lafayette, Louisiana. Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit, February 7, 2007.
Henkel, G. (n.d.). The Patient has left the building. The Hospitalist, August, (2008). Accessed 10/25/2011 at
Makaryus, A. and Friedman, E. (2005). Patients’ Understanding of their treatment plans and diagnosis at discharge, Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 80 (8), p.991-994.
Sullivan, W. (n.d.). Finger Gangrene Case Review. Accessed 10/25/2011 at
Sarah Davis, Administratrix, Ad Prosequendum, et al, Plaintiffs, v. Township of Paulsboro, et al. Defendants. U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, March 27,

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