Does some have to accompany me when I leave a hospital?

I’m scheduled to have surgery at a New York City hospital and was told that someone must pick me up on the day after surgery when I’ll be “discharged.” I don’t have anyone who could pick me up and have been told that I’ll be well enough to drive my car, although my plan is to take public transporation. Could I just check myself out without being accompanied? I’m worried about the possibility of Medicare and my private insurance not paying if I don’t follow this hospital rule.

Given that we have no idea what procedure you’re having but the staff at the New York City hospital does (have an idea what procedure you’re having), why not ask them? I guarantee you’re not the first person they’ve seen who doesn’t have someone to pick them up.

I ran into this deal once after having a tooth pulled. I sat in the waiting room for a while and then pretended to answer my phone and then told the nurse, “My ride just pulled up.” She waved goodbye.

I walked home (about 10 blocks).

I’ve had to have someone BE THERE in the hospital while undergoing a colonoscopy and then, of course, pull up to the exit in a vehicle into which I am then transferred to go home. Pain in the neck rounding up someone to do that.
I certainly can’t answer the OP’s question.

Since this involves medical advice, let’s move it to IMHO.

General Questions Moderator

I gave birth at a New York City hospital and I really just could have walked right out with the baby. I was a little surprised that there was no process in place to see what my plans were and who was with me.

Now, this is not actual advice, but I’m just saying that many people who DO have someone to take them home probably can’t produce them at the discharge desk. If asked “where is your companion?” the answer, in New York City, is likely often “they’re driving around the block, they can’t find parking.”

I’m surprised the hospital didn’t (a) confirm this ahead of time and (b) insist you show them your driver when you arrive (to have a procedure that will knock you out). I had two outpatient procedures, and they insist I show them my designated driver at check-in before continuing with the paperwork.

You’ve been given conflicting information. Either you need help or you don’t. You can’t be well enough to drive and then also be required to not drive. Ask them again and get clarification. If you are well enough to drive, then ‘problem solved.’

If not, there’s a couple of things you can do here.

You should have someone, even if it’s just a cab/Uber/Lyft, pick you up if you have been sedated. If you have been sedated, you should not drive. Public transportation could be difficult if you have been sedated, too. You could be sleepy, nauseated, or experience muddled thinking.

You can also say at the last minute "I understand what you are saying and I won’t be complying. I will walk myself home (or whatever).

You can also ask them to call a cab (or Uber or Lyft).

Interesting. I’m having surgery tomorrow, and in about 20 places their documentations says I cannot take public transportation and that Uber, Lyft or taxis are not acceptable either. Has to be someone I know and I have demonstrate who that will be before they proceed.

This might be a good use case for Ideally I would hire someone well ahead of time to talk and make sure they are reliable.


So if you are away from home, new in town, socially awkward, or just a loner, the medical establishment would prefer that you die rather than give you access to their services.

That’s appalling.

At least in part I understand their point. They’re turning loose a person that might still be disoriented from anesthesia, and certainly under the influence of heavy pain medication, with no supervision or plan for how they’re getting where they need to be going. Sounds like the grounds for a juicy lawsuit.

Here, you often (depending on the nature of the surgery) need a designated driver there with you in the hospital. There are some procedures that they will not perform unless you have a driver to and from the hospital.

But back when I lived in NYC, where so many people don’t drive, they just took me down to the street in a wheelchair and made sure I got into a taxi. They didn’t give a rat’s ass that I still had to make it up to my 5th-floor walk-up.

On Long Island, for the exact same procedure, I drove to and from the hospital. Nobody cared.

I’m having surgery at Columbia University Medical Center to remove a stricture in my urethra – and will have recovered from the effects of the anesthesia on the following day, when I’m scheduled to leave the hospital. I live in upstate New York and plan to take the train back home. The surgeon says I will be fully capable of driving my car from the upstate train station to my home. I just have to get past the hurdle of the hospital rule requiring a friend or relative (not a taxi driver) to pick me up.

I had the experience of another hospital (upstate) telling me that they would not accept my leaving in a taxi, so I did get a friend to pick me up in that case. However, I don’t have someone who could go to New York City to check me out of this hospital (I have no living relatives or a significant other).

Yeah, but this is how you find out who your friends really are.

A couple of years ago, I needed surgery for a broken wrist. They told me I would be admitted early morning and released later that day. When the issue of transportation came up, I was warned I couldn’t drive – which I was expecting – but I also had to have a friend or relative come with me into the hospital, wait for me to recover from the anesthesia, and then take charge of me for 24 hours. This meant someone staying overnight with me, or me staying over at their house.

This requirement was close to impossible. I have cousins nearby, but, this being summertime, most were out of town on vacation – plus my relationship with them is rather strained. I get along with my neighbors, but don’t know any of them very well. I’m something of a loner, so have few friends, and the only one I would feel comfortable staying with overnight lives some distance away.

I explained all this to them; they insisted I had to come up with a babysitter (my words, not theirs). The surgeon himself came out and started shouting at me that I’d better straighten up, it’s for my own good, it has to be this way, etc.

When they finally realized I was serious, they very reluctantly offered to schedule the surgery in the afternoon, and have me stay overnight in the hospital. It seemed like the only possible solution, so I accepted.

Curiously, they had no transportation rules at all for an overnight stay. I planned on taking a bus to the hospital, and a cab back home, and they didn’t blink an eye at that. (although, I did manage to find someone to drive me there and back, after all)

I’m sorry that I have no suggestions for the OP. I’m not even sure what I’ll do myself if a similar situation comes up again.

The hospital said the same thing to me. My friend just said “Yep, I’ll be there” and then he just dropped me off at home and left. The hospital can’t MAKE you have somebody at your house for 24 hours.

Your insurance could care less if you follow hospital rules or not. If you have a pre auth in place (if needed), and the procedure is done, they will pay.
It is a common myth that insurance will not pay if people sign themselves out against medical advice (AMA) but this is not true. I think we’ve had previous threads on that subject.

“I’m just waiting for a discharge.”