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Hospitals can 'throw out' a patient, even at 2 a.m.

eldercare031411_optPlease see special medical alert for seniors below

BY CAROL ABAYA
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM
THE SANDWICH GENERATION

Question: "I am 85 years old and went to the local hospital/emergency room at 10 a.m. in an ambulance because I had severe pain in the lower part of my body. I remained in the hospital all day,during which various tests were done. At 2 a.m. the next morning I was told to go home. I had no way to get home, did not have a coat or shoes because I went in the ambulance. I had no one nearby to pick me up. My daughter lives 100 miles away."

The hospital said I HAD to leave, that I had no choice --even though I was still in pain. A taxi was called, and I was literally pushed into the cab. The staff didn’t even make sure I had money. The driver took me home to a dark house and just left me.

Can a hospital force you to leave even though you are in pain, live alone, and have no one to go to?

Answer: I was very upset by this inhumane incident and made a number of calls. Certainly someone shouldn’t be thrown out into the cold. My calls, included (but there were more) the Office on Aging, the State Department of Health, Adult Protective Services, and finally a lawyer who specializes in medical law.

Everyone said the same thing. If the patient is medically stable and mentally alert and the hospital cannot find something that should be treated in the hospital, then the hospital does not have to keep the person there.

In other words, if there is no medical reason for the person to remain in the ER, the hospital is not forced to keep the patient.

According to the State, all the hospital is required to do is to provide clear and appropriate information as to what the patient should do at home.

Medical Alert for Senior Citizens

A new study recently published in the “New England Journal of Medicine” found that adverse drug reactions result in an estimated 100,000 emergency hospitalizations for seniors.

The study was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and zeros in on four drugs and drug classes that cause most of problems.

Top on the list is Warfarin, with 33 percent of the cases stemming from use of this drug. The top problem classes of drugs, according to the study, are oral antiplatelet medications, insulins, and oral hypoglycemic agents. All these account for 67 percent of emergency adverse medicine reaction hospitalizations.

Best Sandwich Generation advice: make sure these drugs are taken correctly and reactions are closely monitored.

The Sandwich Generation is reader interactive and welcomes questions.

Contact Carol Abaya via her web site www.thesandwichgeneration.com or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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