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Can "patient dumping" affect you or a loved one?

If you or a family member needed to go to the hospital, would you be assured that you would not be forced to leave until staff was sure you had a safe way to get home? The thought of being pushed out of the emergency room in unsafe conditions sounds unspeakable, yet it occurs more often than you think in hospitals across the country, including in Illinois.

Let us say your father had chest pains and called an ambulance, but he was also suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. After a few hours of observation, he was told his pain was nothing to worry about and given a discharge. However, he is disoriented when he is discharged and cannot remember his address or family members' phone numbers. Since neither he nor any of the medical staff was able to contact a family member to pick him up, someone from the hospital dropped him off at a nearby bus stop.

This type of scenario is known as "patient dumping," and it may risk patients' health or personal safety. Some recent examples include the following:

  • A woman suffering from mental illness was left at a bus stop outside a Baltimore, Maryland, hospital wearing nothing but a hospital gown and socks.
  • Numerous patients from Nevada filed a lawsuit after they were discharged from the hospital and put on buses to be sent out of state.
  • A man with diabetes was unable to stand or walk, yet he was discharged, stumbled into the street and was hit by a car. He sued the hospital after suffering a disabling skull fracture.

Dumping patients before they are physically ready to walk or function, or without having a safe way home, may violate a federal law that requires that patients are discharged into a safe environment. You and your loved ones have the right to be treated with dignity and respect when you visit the hospital, which includes the way you are discharged.

  1. "Committed To My Cause"

    I was struck by a car while cycling and severely, almost fatally injured. A team of excellent medical professionals performed complicated and extensive surgical and medical procedures as part of a successful effort to restore my health....
    -Jeff D.

  2. "Could not have made a better choice"

    We found Mark [Mathys] through the web after an auto accident in October 2011. While selecting someone you don't know to represent you can be a gamble, we could not have made a better choice....
    - Dave

  3. "Very satisfied"

    Mark [Mathys] is very professional. He responds almost immediately, via email, to any question, comment or concern I have and if he is not able to respond right away, he will let me know. I have been very satisfied with Mark so far and I am happy to be his client.
    -Jennifer

  4. "Easy to talk to"

    Mr. Mathys and Mr. Schneid were very professional and easy to talk to. Prior to working with them, my wife and I had no real experience with the legal system beyond a house closing, yet Mr. Mathys and Mr. Schneid explained the whole process to us very well. I knew that whenever I had a concern about our case or the legal system in general I could call their office or send an email and receive answers the same day... -Larry

  5. "Provided very wise advice"

    I've dealt with attorneys on a variety of issues, almost all of them since leaving college and entering the workplace. Mr. Mathys was the first attorney I had any real experience with, and I was impressed then and remain so. He provided very wise advice and always kept me informed. In the end, he delivered a favorable result. I recommend him highly.
    - Tyler D.

  6. "In-depth knowledge of the law"

    Mark [Schneid] is an excellent and skilled attorney and demonstrated in-depth knowledge of the law when he helped settle my dog bite lawsuit resulting from a traumatic incident. He explained what was needed of me and how I should handle the situation in a professional manner.
    - Karen K.

  7. "They went to bat for me"

    Not long ago I was involved in a car accident where I was hit by a gravel truck at an intersection. After I called Mathys & Schneid, even though I didn't have a very large case, they made me feel like I was one of their most important cases. They went to bat for me with the trucking company's insurance and got me a settlement. I would definitely recommend them to my family and friends. -Dan H.

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Law Offices of Mathys & Schneid
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Naperville, IL 60563

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Chicago, IL 60606

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