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August 2004, Volume 34 Number 8 , p 20 - 20



© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc. Volume 34(8)             August 2004             p 20 Permission denied [ADVICE, P.R.N.: AWOL PATIENTS]

Our hospital has a no-smoking policy, so ambulatory patients in my medical/surgical unit sometimes slip out to the courtyard for a smoke. Now the hospital is instituting a policy that would forbid patients from leaving the unit to smoke (or for any other reason) unless they sign an against-medical-advice (AMA) form before each departure .

Some of us think this rule is extreme; the courtyard is just a short distance away and we've never had any problems before. What do you think? —L.A., ME.

We think the hospital is wise to put a policy in place before a problem occurs. The hospital has a duty to protect a patient admitted for care. If he's harmed after leaving the unit without permission or supervision, the hospital could be held ...

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