Whatever happens to trauma patients who leave against medical advice?

Olubode A. Olufajo, David Metcalfe, Brian K. Yorkgitis, Zara Cooper, Reza Askari, Joaquim M. Havens, Gabriel A. Brat, Adil H. Haider, Ali Salim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Background Although trauma patients are frequently discharged against medical advice (AMA), the fate of these patients remains mostly unknown. Methods Patients with traumatic injuries were identified in the California State Inpatient Database, 2007 to 2011. Readmission characteristics of patients discharged AMA were compared with patients discharged home. Results There were 203,756 (75.65%) patients discharged home and 4,480 (1.66%) discharged AMA. Compared with those discharged home, patients discharged AMA had significantly higher 30-day readmission rates (17.12% vs 6.75%), rates of multiple readmissions (3.83% vs 1.12%), and likelihood of being readmitted at different hospitals (44.83% vs 33.82%) (all P <.001). The commonest reasons for readmission in patients discharged AMA were psychiatric conditions [adjusted odds ratio: 1.67 (1.21 to 2.27)]. Conclusions Discharge AMA is associated with multiple readmissions and higher rates of readmissions at different hospitals. Early identification of vulnerable patients and improved modalities to prevent discharge AMA among these patients may reduce the negative outcomes associated with discharge AMA among trauma patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)677-683
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgery
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Against medical advice
  • Location
  • Readmission
  • Risk factors
  • Trauma


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