(CN) – A mother can proceed with a negligence claim against a hospital that released her epileptic son, who fell into a ravine and died on his way home, the North Carolina Court of Appeals ruled.
After her son William received treatment for epilepsy at Granville Medical Center, Bernice Allen said she told the hospital staff not to let William leave until she came to pick him up, because he was “disabled, had a history of seizures and could not come home on his own.”
When she arrived hours later, Allen was informed that William had been released. Seven months later, William’s remains were found in a ravine.
The trial court dismissed Allen’s lawsuit because it failed to assert that the alleged negligent medical care has been reviewed by an expert.
On appeal, Allen argued that her complaint was not for medical malpractice, but for negligence.
Judge John Martin agreed and reversed the lower court’s decision.
“Plaintiff does not appear to challenge the Medical Center’s professional judgment in discharging the decedent,” Martin wrote. “Rather, plaintiff alleges that the Medical Center failed to supervise a person in its care, despite being on notice that he could not care for himself, and permitted him to leave the premises without being accompanied by a responsible adult.”