Viewpoint |

What Is Wrong With Discharges Against Medical Advice (and How to Fix Them)

David Alfandre, MD, MSPH1; John Henning Schumann, MD2
[+] Author Affiliations
1VA National Center for Ethics in Health Care, NYU School of Medicine, New York, New York
2Department of Internal Medicine, University of Oklahoma School of Community Medicine, Tulsa
JAMA. 2013;310(22):2393-2394. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.280887.
Text Size: A A A
Published online


It is estimated that as many as 2% of all US hospital discharges (approximately 500 000 per year) are designated as against medical advice1; that is, a patient chooses to leave the hospital before the treating physician recommends discharge. The risks to these patients are significant. Compared with patients discharged conventionally, readmission rates for patients discharged against medical advice are 20% to 40% higher, and their adjusted relative risk of 30-day mortality may be 10% higher.2 Furthermore, physicians and other health care staff report feeling distressed and powerless when patients choose suboptimal care, and disagreement over a discharge against medical advice can cause patient-physician and intrateam conflict.3

Sign In to Access Full Content

Don't have Access?

Register and get free email Table of Contents alerts, saved searches, PowerPoint downloads, CME quizzes, and more

Subscribe for full-text access to content from 1998 forward and a host of useful features

Activate your current subscription (AMA members and current subscribers)

Purchase Online Access to this article for 24 hours

First Page Preview

View Large
First page PDF preview




Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Sign In to Access Full Content

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

Multimedia Related by Topic

Author Reading

Related Topics
PubMed Articles