Discharge against Medical Advice among Children in Oman : A university hospital experience

Muna Al-Sadoon, Khalid Al-Shamousi


Objectives: Discharge against medical advice (DAMA) is a major problem in healthcare delivery as it can complicate the health problems from which patients are suffering. The aim of this study was to understand DAMA among children in a tertiary teaching hospital in Oman and to evaluate the documentation of the events in the medical records. Methods: A retrospective survey of the medical records of patients discharged against medical advice over a two-year interval was performed (2004–2006). Results: Of the 11,802 admissions, there were 38 cases of DAMA, giving a prevalence rate of 0.32%. In 39.5% of the cases, the discharge happened within 24 hours of hospital admission. The majority of the cases were infants (n = 24; 63.25%). The diagnosis at discharge in some cases included life-threatening conditions. However, in 57.9% of the cases, the reasons for DAMA were neither reported nor documented in the patients’ medical records. Conclusion: Although the results of this study yielded a low prevalence rate compared to the rates reported in other studies, the occurrence of DAMA for children in a tertiary hospital is a distressing phenomenon. It was evident that the documentation of the DAMA process was poor. More studies should be conducted to understand the details of the problem. Policies should be established and implemented in order to attempt to reduce DAMA among child patients and to protect them from the consequences of such discharges.


Children; Patient Discharge; Hospitals; Oman.

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Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, PO Box 35, Postal Code 123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

ISSN (Print edition): 2075-051X ISSN (Internet edition): 2075-0528

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