ED Liability: Suit Proceeds against Hospital, Providers, Security, Police after Discharged Patient Kills Three

April 19, 2017 | Strategic Insights for Health System


​A U.S. district court in New York permitted litigation against a hospital, its contracted security service, several nursing employees, an emergency physician, and municipal police to proceed with regard to the alleged wrongful discharge of a behavioral health patient from the hospital's emergency department (ED). The plaintiffs are representatives of the estates of deceased third-party victims, whom the patient murdered.

Police responded to a report of a fight between two men on the front porch of a house. The family informed the police that one of the men involved was mentally ill and that he might not have taken his medication that day. They reported that he had become increasingly violent over the course of the day; he allegedly nearly killed the family's dog and then attacked and beat two other members of the household. While the police were interviewing the family, the man again attacked his uncle, requiring a police officer to forcibly separate the two. Police observed the man staring at the walls and were not able to converse with him. They directed first responders to transport the man to...

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