These are SILLY rules and you will sometimes encounter an admitting nurse who “goes by the book”. That means ONLY a friend or family member can pick you up.
Not a taxi driver or hotel van driver or city bus driver!
I’ve been through this many times and ALWAYS have been able to walk. If I could not walk, they kept me over night at the hospital. (Yet sometimes they insist I ride in a wheel chair to the front door!)
Anyway the way around these “by the book” nurses is to agree to anything they want / ask for. So tell them your friend is going to pick you up. Give them your friends phone number. (I’ve given them the name of a hotel van driver and the hotel’s phone before.)
That will satisfy the “admitting nurse”. Then I have found the nurses who release you to be much more reasonable. They sometimes let me walk to the front door by myself. Or will walk me there, then let me wait “for my friend” by myself. Or see a taxi or hotel van driver come and pick me up and have no problem with that.
Once I took the city bus home.
And there was one time I was going to be truly “out of it” after surgery, So I did arrange to have a friend take me, wait, then take me home. I could barely walk to the car. Slept most of the way home.
And that’s a big reason for these rules; that the patient may not be capable of driving himself/herself home. Even if you think you’re well enough to drive, you may not be. The hospital and the doctor don’t want a malpractice claim from someone who had an accident while driving themselves home after undergoing anesthesia. (See this abstract from Pubmed as a cite.)
But as I said, it’s not uncommon for people not to have someone to drive them home after surgery or to accompany them to the surgery. So I’ll bet that the hospitals and outpatient centers have made arrangements for such cases. Perhaps there’s a hotel nearby the hospital where you can stay for a day or two after the surgery? (I think in particular the big hospitals that people will travel long distances to visit have these.)
That is my situation. I live in a rural area a long way from the hospital - which also makes having a friend pick me up difficult. And my friends are working typically.
So I get a hotel room… BUT the silly hospital will NOT allow the hotel van driver to pick me up! Say a “responsible friend of mine must do so”! Actually the hotel van driver is more responsible than my friend.
Anyway I just tell them my friend is going to pick me up, then I call the van instead.
I don’t see how the hospital would have any legal right to restrain someone. It can report the patient to the police as an impaired driver if he or she gets behind the wheel, but I don’t see how they could call in the authorities if the patient just walked away (assuming he or she wasn’t literally on the verge of falling down). Certainly, I think the hospital could refuse to perform the procedure without proof of a driver, but once it’s done, it seems to me that it’s stuck. No idea about possible insurance consequences.
At least they do check beforehand. I once discovered that I needed a friend or family member to pick me up about 30 minutes before being discharged. They still had all my clothes and stuff in a locker as well, so just calling a taxi (which was my plan) would have been a bit interesting if the hospital wouldn’t cooperate, with an open back patient gown and all…
It was particularly awkward, as it was urgent surgery booked with less than 24 hours notice, so I hadn’t planned at all, and my phone was out of credit. When I went in for the assessment that led to the surgery, they’d happily called me a taxi, so it just hadn’t occurred to me, but it turned out there were no phones in the ward, at least not that they’d let me use. I wound up having to borrow a mobile from one of the nurses, and just phoning people I knew who wouldn’t be at work :rolleyes:
Luckily the first person I called would accept a random call from a strange number, and had an afternoon free.
I apologize for going off the OP’s post, but I was curious when I read this. The insurance company was willing to pay for an overnight hospital stay for an outpatient procedure? I understand if there ended up being complications, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here.
When you are ready to leave, leave. If they try to restrain you, ask if you are under arrest. They may ask you to sign a form stating that you are leaving against medical advice. Don’t sign it. Just leave. Not much they can do.
An overnight stay in the hospital is not the necessarily the same as an admission as an inpatient. I had a scheduled outpatient procedure done, and I was in the recovery room until about 7 pm for a procedure that was done by noon. There were others who where scheduled after me, and I’m sure that people sometimes get sent for the procedure from the ER, so it’s likely that that recovery room is staffed 24/7 and that people sometimes stay overnight in the recovery room.