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Wentworth-Douglass Wants Court to Order Obese Patient to Leave


Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover is asking a judge for an injunction because a morbidly obese patient refuses to leave until he can receive weight loss surgery in six to nine months.

The 54-year-old Somersworth man, identified as “John Doe” in the complaint to protect his privacy and medical history, was hospitalized in March for treatment of abdominal pain, renal stones and a penile mass, according to the complaint.

The man had been unable to easily leave his bed for the past four years because of his weight, according to the complaint.

After being discharged from physical therapy, ambulance drivers were concerned they could not easily get him out of his second-floor apartment accessible by a narrow hallway and brought him to Wentworth-Douglass instead, according to the complaint.

The man has no medical condition keeping him at the hospital and Medicare declined his admission, but without a safe place for him to go, he was admitted.

It took 10 EMS providers several hours to get him out of his apartment in March, the complaint said. At least one of the providers was injured during the transport.

“Doe” has remained at the hospital as social workers work to find him suitable housing on a first floor. He has refused to take part in the search process for a new home and wrote on an application his reason for moving was “WDH is forcing me to.”

The hospital gave him a discharge notice with a goal of leaving by July 3, but “Doe” has disregarded the steps required for discharge.

Remaining at the hospital puts him in danger of contracting COVID-19 with cases on the increase, according to hospital officials.

It would be in the best interest of the public to force “Doe” to leave in order to admit a patient who really needs to be in a hospital, according to the officials.

Wentworth-Douglass wants “Doe” to participate in planning his discharge to a safe and accessible apartment or long-term care facility.

Adam Bagni, director of communications and community relations at the hospital sent a statement to Seacoast Current on Wednesday morning.

“Wentworth-Douglass Hospital is committed to treating all our patients with the highest degree of care, dignity, and respect. Our policy and practice is not to publicly discuss a patient’s medical care.

Over the past several months the hospital has, more often than not, been at nearly full medical/surgical capacity. In order to accommodate the medical needs of our community, our staff works diligently every day with each of our patients to develop and carry out their best course of medical care and treatment.

When patients no longer require an acute level of medical care, our team works with them and their families to develop an appropriate plan of discharge, aligned with their medical needs and personal circumstances, for their next level of care and recovery.

We believe the most successful transitions of care occur when there is full participation and collaboration between and among the patient, their family, and our medical and nursing teams.

We consider any filing of legal action as an absolute last resort and we remain committed to ensuring all of our patients are safely and respectfully discharged.”

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for November 17.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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