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Delta-Lawyer, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3546
Experience:  10 years practicing IP law and general litigation
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My spouse was transported by ambulance called by the police.

Customer Question

My spouse was transported by ambulance called by the police. My spouse was taken to a virginia hospital to insure that she was not hurt in the accident. She was also extremely intoxicated and the hospital had records showing that she had been detained several months prior for drug withdrawel. In her intoxacated state she wanted to leave the hospital. While the hospital had me on record as her emergency contact I never was called and my wife passed away less then six hours later. The hospital report does not even mention that she was intoxacated. Question: Did the hospital have an legal and/or moral obligation to notify either the police or me that she was signing herself out while (clearly intoxacated) and never recieved any treatment, no exrays, no nothing. Basicly, she was released puting herself in danger and others by the hospitals failure.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Delta-Lawyer replied 1 year ago.

In short, based on what you have shared with me, the hospital did have a legal and ethical obligation to notify the police and you, her spouse, that she was leaving. If the reason for her death was the result of an injury that should have been noticed by the hospital, there is also a viable medical malpractice suit as well as they likely breached the applicable standard of care relative to their job duties and responsibilities.

It sounds like, based on what you have shared with me, that there were a series of errors committed by the hospital that, if any of them did not take place, you wife may still be here today.

Their defense will be that she was, in their opinion, was of sound mind to refuse medical care and leave. The entire case will depend on whether or not she was of sufficient sound mind that she could rationally and intelligently sign herself out and be expected to be okay. Since that clearly was not the case by the end result, the burden of proof will be on the hospital to show that something changed that they could not have reasonably foreseen from the time she left, until the time she passed away. That would be hard for them to prove based on the evidence that was present while she was in their care.

Based on what you have shared with me, I think you have a very viable wrongful death law suit against the hospital and providers.

Let me know if you have any other questions or comments. Please also rate my answer positively (4 or 5 stars).

Best wishes and my thoughts and prayers for your loss.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The hospital has stated that they have NO obligation to call anyone because she is an adult and was advised against her leaving. They had her sign a release to that effect and have told me with that it releases the hospital from any and all libility. The reason for here being taken to the hospital was she was freaking out and included in the ambulance report rolling around on the ground when they arrived. The hospital in located in the state of Virgina. In answering, I would appricate you taking this into account. I should also point out that my wife was 61 years old.
Expert:  Delta-Lawyer replied 1 year ago.

My answer stands. It is their responsibility to determine whether or not she had the capacity, under the circumstances, to actual make an informed decision to leave. Did she actually have the mental presence to make a decision to leave? I think the answer is clearly no. The hospital is only telling you half the story here. What they told you is correct, when dealing with a person with all their faculties. However, that was clearly not the case here.

Expert:  Delta-Lawyer replied 1 year ago.

Did you have any other questions or comments? I want you to be as comfortable as possible moving forward. Thanks

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