Can a hospital let a patient leave on his own with serious head injury and halucinations?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can a hospital let a patient leave on his own with serious head injury and halucinations?

A friend has serious head injuries and is trying to leave the hospital, hallucinating about the monitors and nurses new world order conspiracy theory stuff and putting up a violent fight. The doctors say if he wants to leave they must let him. He also had no insurance. is there anything the family can do to keep him there as he is clearly not in his right mind?

Asked on December 11, 2017 under Malpractice Law, Kansas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Unless and until he is judged mentally incompetent and a legal guardian appointed for him--which will take a legal proceeding and typically weeks (or more) of time, even if expedited as much as possible--he may check himself out. A legally competent adult, which is any adult not declared legally incompetent by a court, can make his own medical care decisions, even if it is a very, very bad idea and against the advice of doctors and family. If you wish to look into having him declared incomptent, consult with an attorney who works with the mentally ill or elderly (e.g. elderly with dementia or Alzheimer's)--they be the ones with experience in this.

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