Should I or could I sue hospital for releasing 86 yr old man with dementia by himself using a taxi voucher...?

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86yr old man with dementia, two faints and 3 falls in last 2 months, requires 24-hour custodial care, was in hospital after two falls in one day was released and placed in taxi. He had no wallet or ID, no keys, no shoes (hospital lost them), no idea whether anyone would be at his home, it is on record that he lives alone but custodial care split between son and hired caregiver. There was no set time given for his release or even word that it was certain he would be released. I am the son and I had explained to floor nurse the previous day that I would not be able to pick him up until after work approx. 7:30pm-8:00pm. She said it would be fine and that they do not force people out when they do not have anyone readily available to pick them up. I had expected him to be released that day and taken it off but I needed to work the following day. I would have taken the day off anyway had she said it would not be OK. They did not call me. They had no idea whether anyone would be at his home. He was not expected and for all they knew I was at work or on my way to collect him as he was sent away in a taxi. Fortunately there was a caregiver at his house because I never had the minimum 48-hour notice required and had to pay a caregiver even though my father had been in the hospital. Even though nothing happened they should be held accountable for the gross error and high risk they subjected him to. He had been brought to the hospital for having fallen twice on Sunday. He was prone to falls. He has dementia and should never be on his own. It was his hospital and all of this is in his medical records there. I'd like to see them severely punished for such a stupid decision so this never happens to anyone else.

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Neglect is not a cause of action for a civil legal liability case. No harm came to your father so you cannot sue for damages. If you cannot sue for damages you cannot claim pain and suffering. Better to concentrate on the lack of communication and responsibility the hospital created.
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Few more thoughts:

1 The discharge planner should have been the one to coordinate the details. Perhaps there wasn't one that day; perhaps one of them was ill, whatever. But do query the role of the DC and address the issues.

2. Ask what the nurse to patient ratio is. From family who are nurses, I've learned that, depending on the specific floor and nature of patients (i.e., cardiac, vs. surgical recovery, etc.), 5 or 6 patients is a full and challenging load for a nurse. I've heard of ridiculous situations in which a nurse was responsible for 15 patients in one of our local hospitals; that's one of the reasons she isn't a nurse there any mor3.

3. While I usually agree with Churchmouse, I think you'll accomplish more if you take the approach that there were problems and lapses with the discharge, you're very upset and want to discuss it with an admin/exec) so that it DOESN'T happen again. Take the approach of a problem solver, state the problems and give them a chance to address the issues w/o immediately being on the defensive. That doesn't solve much, even if it might make you feel better.

And good luck with this situation. I do and can understand how frustrated you must feel. My father's last hospital visit was plagued with staff errors and I was pretty angry too.

If you go in like a mad bull, you put them on the defensive rather than calm to address finding the problem and addressing a solution.
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You have no cause of action to sue - your father was in jeopardy, but there were no injuries, no damages. You need to have those to file a sustainable suit. If you don't have damages, you don't have a cause of action.

You do have reason to complain, which I would do, starting with the hospital administrator. Skip the lower level people.
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I would do two things.

1. I would go apesh1t at the hospital and demand to have it in writing wtf they thought they were doing, and what they now propose to do to ensure that their discharge processes are consistently and correctly followed.

2. I would be extremely relieved that no harm has resulted.

Sue? Claim damages? Cui bono? Leaving aside the uncertain outcome, you'd be embarking on a highly stressful process claiming compensation for a pretty nebulous injury - i.e. the risk your father was exposed to. Point out to them how much it could have cost them had any harm come to him; and further point out that now that this failure in their process has been drawn to their attention the cost on a future occasion would rise exponentially, because they'd have no defence. But don't sue. Save your energy for ripping off heads.
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I forgot to mention that the taxi just dropped him off at the house and drove away. He was not escorted to the door. He has previously fallen in the driveway after exiting a car. He walked up and rang the doorbell. By the time the caregiver opened the door there was no one there and no taxi in sight. The next thing he knew my father walked in through the back door. His mental clarity comes and goes. Another day and he would not have been able to connect the dots and try another door. If all of the doors had been locked he might have wandered off. The caregiver was expecting me to bring him home between 8:00pm and 8:30pm. This was 5:00pm so he was caught off guard and could have been in an area of the house where you cannot hear things as well.
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