J Korean Soc Emerg Med.  2021 Feb;32(1):1-4.

Best practice guideline for patients requiring discharge against medical advice from emergency department

  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, School of Medicine, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, Korea
  • 2Department of Emergency Medicine, Dankook University Hospital, Dankook University College of Medicine, Cheonan, Korea
  • 3Department of Emergency Medicine, Dong-A University College of Medicine, Busan, Korea
  • 4School of Law, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Korea


Discharge against medical advice remains a problematic issue worldwide because it may not only lead to adverse medical outcomes for the patients but also medicolegal problems for emergency physicians. Recently, there have been cases in Korea in which a patient in the emergency room, who had been discharged from hospital without following medical instructions, filed a lawsuit against the hospital and emergency medical staff for their responsibility for their worsening disease since discharge. The court acknowledged the responsibility of the medical staff. To minimize the legal risk and reach the optimal ethical standard for these patients, this paper suggests the best practice guideline for the emergency physicians for patients who request discharge against medical advice from the emergency department in Korea.


Patient discharge; Ethics; Medical; Emergency department; Guideline
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