If you’ve ever gone into the hospital and been asked to stay overnight, you might have found the experience frustrating if you weren’t expecting more than a short visit. But hospitals often request an in-patient stay for purposes of monitoring. This is also routine after more involved procedures like surgery, because doctors know that patients can experience sudden and severe complications that require emergency medical intervention. Even if a hospital stay is inconvenient, it is usually better to be safe than sorry.
Unfortunately, hospitals sometimes fail to monitor critical patients even if they have been admitted. In one recent case, a young man died just after being released from the hospital. His family alleges that physicians failed to correctly monitor him after surgery and ignored problematic internal bleeding.
In November 2020, a 24-year-old Colorado man was injured in a snowboarding accident. He fell on a rock and damaged his left kidney. When the man was originally airlifted from a local hospital to a level-one trauma center, physicians hoped they could save his kidney, as the man was otherwise young and healthy. Because doctors couldn’t get his internal bleeding under control during his hospital stay, however, he eventually had the kidney removed on his eighth day of being in the hospital’s care.
After the surgery, the man reportedly continued to suffer internal bleeding. But according to the family’s attorney, the hospital staff never performed follow-up procedures like exploratory surgery and medical imaging that could have determined the source of the bleeding and stopped it.
Several days after surgery, the man was released from the hospital, despite bleeding through his bandages even as he was leaving. He died about eight hours later.
Earlier this summer, his family filed a $10 million medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital, alleging gross negligence. Specific allegations could include failure to monitor and failure to order appropriate diagnostic testing, among others.
If you or a loved one is ever experiencing serious complications – particularly after surgery – please don’t agree to be discharged if you have concerns or reservations about your safety. Being a strong advocate for yourself could just save your life.