Witness Statements That Patient Said He Left ED AMA Were Inadmissible, Court Rules

February 26, 2020 | Strategic Insights for Health System


‚ÄčIn a case in which the parties disputed whether the patient left a hospital emergency department (ED) against medical advice (AMA), and the patient died at a second hospital days later, the Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, has held that deposition testimony and medical record entries by physicians at the second hospital suggesting that the patient left the ED AMA should not have been admitted into evidence. The appellate court thus vacated the jury verdict for the first hospital and the emergency physician, reinstating the claims against these defendants and remanding the case for a new trial.

The patient presented to the first hospital's ED, where the emergency physician diagnosed him with pneumonia. The emergency physician wrote in the medical record that he "offered" the patient hospitalization for intravenous antibiotics and fluids. At trial, the emergency physician testified that he told the patient that his pneumonia was serious and required hospitalization. The emergency physician also testified that the patient left AMA, but he never asked the patient to sign an AMA form. The patient was discharged from the ED the same day with...

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