Responsibility and Liability

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The hospital is only responsible for any injury to Mr. Jones as a result of improper care. Dr. Simon did not release Mr. Jones as he felt the patient's condition might be detrimental to his health and emotional state. He may have felt that Mr. Jones was not stable enough to function outside the hospital, due to hallucinations and convulsions. However, according to the Joint Commission the hospital and Dr. Simon may be liable if they did not do everything possible to prevent Mr. Jones' departure from the facility and did not intervene upon his departure. "Protection of patients from elopement risks requires attention to preventive measures through assessment and elopement precautions as well as appropriate intervention after elopement has occurred" (Gerardi, 2007). If the hospital staff including Dr. Simon conducted a thorough assessment of Mr. Jones it may have been determined that he may be an elopement risk. Then appropriate measures such as additional security, a locked ward/floor, and extra attention to his whereabouts may have been necessary. The hospital also failed to discover his elopement for 3 hours as it not stated that hospital staff made an attempt to look for him. The hospital may be liable if measures were not taken to reduce the risk of elopement by Mr. Jones. If he was not admitted to a locked ward where it would be more difficult to leave, if he was not watched closely, and was not monitored or checked every half hour to every hour the hospital itself may be liable. If Dr. Simon did not admit Mr. Jones to a safer, locked ward Dr. Simon may also be liable. Nurses may also be liable if they failed to check on the activities of Mr. Jones for several hours. He may have been placed on suicide precautions, which means he would require constant supervision. Gerardi, D. (2007). Elopement: Spotlight case. Retrieved from http://webmm.ahrq.gov/case.aspx?
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