Five Things You Need to Know to Avoid Hospital Dumping

A picture’s worth one thousand words and if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I could never imagine that such a travesty of justice could occur within a United States healthcare system and hospital.


On a cold, January night, mental health worker, Imamu Baraka was walking down a Baltimore street and witnessed hospital security cards dumping a confused, mentally impaired woman who was wearing nothing but a thin, yellow hospital gown onto the street.

Thank God for cameras.  Here are three important facts you need to know about hospital discharge:

  1. Every patient who was treated or admitted needs a discharge plan documenting that the patient is stable and can go home safely
  2. Every discharge plan should have a follow up plan in terms of medications and future appointments
  3. Every discharge plan has the name (and signature) of the person who deemed it was safe to send the patient home
  4. Every hospital has an administrator who is ultimately accountable for the actions of hospital staff. 
  5. A mental health patient who is unstable can be involuntarily admitted for 72 hours to help become stable. This is called the Baker Act.

If a hospital wants to send you or a loved one home inappropriately, demand to see the hospital administrator.  The last time I checked, this is still America and hospitals are supposed to be institutions of healing.

First do no harm.



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