Thursday, September 21, 2023
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Hospital Asks Leave to Boot Cranky Patient

HARTFORD (CN) - A Catholic hospital asked a judge for permission to discharge a cantankerous patient who refuses to leave because she likes its bed more than her hospital bed at home.

St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center sued Margo Smith in Superior Court.

According to the 5-page lawsuit, Smith was brought to the hospital on Sept. 22 with pneumonia. She was treated and discharged on Sept. 26, but appealed the discharge order to Qualidigm -- a quality improvement organization authorized to review patient services.

To dig herself in deeper, the hospital says, Smith "purposely made arrangements for the hospital bed at her home to be removed, thus leaving her without a safe discharge of her home."

The hospital bed at her home was provided by the Connecticut Department of Social Services. She also receives 11 hours of daily personal care at her home through a state-funded program called "Money Follows the Person," according to the lawsuit.

"The bed which the defendant presently occupies at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center is not available from the manufacturer to be installed in a private residence because of operational and safety reasons," the complaint states.

During her stay at the hospital "defendant has been verbally and physically abusive to staff, and often becomes belligerent and disruptive, resulting in numerous complaints from other patients," St. Francis claims.

It adds: "On October 13, 2013, the defendant became physical with staff resulting in an injury to at least one of the hospital's nurses."

Smith complains if her room is not a constant 83 degrees and repeatedly calls the Hartford Police Department, Public Health Department, Social Services Department, and the attorney general to complain about her treatment and accommodations, according to the complaint.

"Despite being discharged, the defendant refuses to comply with the plaintiff's discharge order and transfer to her home, and continues to occupy an acute level hospital bed," the hospital says.

She has been examined by the hospital's psychiatry department and has been "deemed to have capacity," but refuses to be transferred to a skilled nursing facility, the complaint states.

The hospital seeks a temporary injunction prohibiting and restraining Smith from refusing to comply with its discharge order.

It is represented by David Haught with Cooney, Scully, and Dowling in Hartford.

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