Just as a hospital administrator cannot admit a patient to the hospital, the administrator cannot discharge a patient from the hospital. A patient can be discharged from the hospital only by a physician. The physician may issue a discharge order when the patient is able to continue convalescence without further medical care. The patient who needs only minor additional care may be discharged with instructions to return to the physician's office (or the emergency room) for follow-up care. The physician is responsible for the patient's condition upon discharge and will be liable for any injuries suffered from a premature discharge. The physician is also responsible for either personally providing or personally arranging follow-up medical care. The instructions for follow-up care should be clear and should be written out and given to the patient.
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