My father in law suffered a stroke 6 days ago. He was in a hospital in Illinois. My husband and I live in Wyoming, and couldn't get out there. We had a cousin there handling things. Well, today we got a phone call from my father in law, we could barely make out what he was saying, but we figured out that he was telling us he was home. Nobody in the family was notified of the release and nobody was there to pick him up. We managed to get him to tell us how he got home and he said "The hospital took me home". He may have mixed up what he was saying though. My concern is that the hospital released a stroke victim all on his own. Is there some law that should prevent this? our cousin can't get to the house tonight, as she has our grandmother and can't leave her. so he will be alone all night, also the doctors new he is a very bad alchoholic. this is also a concern for us. Please help if you can!
1 Answer from Attorneys
Since there is no single payer health insurance in the United States, the only obligation a hospital has under the law is to provide health and treatment on an emergency basis. Once the emergency has passed and the patient is stable (the very minimum standard of that definition is used) then, unless there is insurance or a guarantor who accepts responsibility for the payment of further care, the hospital has no obligation to provide any further care. Many hospitals simply let patients, who often are not experiencing an emergency need but by no means can they be qualified as well and aware, simply put the patients on the streets to fend for themselves. Many, put the patients in a cab who then takes the patient to the skid row and let him/her loose.
From the sound of it, your father lacks health insurance and so the hospital, after having provided the initial emergency care and having stabilized him, are under no further obligation to provide any further care. At least, they took him home and not simply let him loose on the streets which they could have done.
You may want to contact social services in the county hospital in the city he is leaving... without health insurance, not much anyone can do. I hope this helps at least a little....