My Patient Insisted on Checking Out. I Knew She Should Stay. But She Held All the Power.

December 28, 2016

(STAT News) – With few exceptions, patients can leave the hospital against medical advice — what we refer to as AMA —whenever they want. It’s their right. But they often don’t do well. In a recent study of 150,000 hospital discharges, about 2 percent of people left AMA. Within 30 days, however, the AMA group was twice as likely to be readmitted — about 25 percent, compared to about 11 percent of patients who were properly discharged. Worse, they had a twofold increased chance of death compared to patients who were properly discharged by their doctors.

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