Under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, a federal statute, healthcare providers are essentially prohibited from refusing to provide critical care to patients in emergency situations simply because the patient does not have health insurance. While the EMTALA does not supplant state medical malpractice laws, it can provide a cause of action for pursuing claims against healthcare providers. Recently, a Maryland court discussed what a patient seeking damages under the EMTALA must prove to prevail. If you suffered harm due to insufficient care during a medical emergency, it is smart to speak to a Maryland medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.
The Facts of the Case
It is reported that the plaintiff was bitten by a Cane Corso dog when he was walking around his neighborhood. He returned home, where he proceeded to have a panic attack. He then called an ambulance and was transported to the defendant’s hospital. When he was at the hospital, he was asked if he had health insurance and stated that he did not.
Allegedly, after the conversation, the plaintiff asserts that the hospital staff did not follow critical screening protocols or the standard screening or treatment for dog bites. He was ultimately discharged with medication. He continued to complain of pain and panic attacks as a result of the dog bite. He subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant, asserting EMTALA claims. The defendant then moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s lawsuit.
Pursuing Claims Under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act
The court granted the motion to dismiss and dismissed the plaintiff’s lawsuit. The court explained that under EMTALA, a hospital must provide adequate medical screening within its emergency department’s capabilities to evaluate whether an emergency medical condition exists if an individual presents to the emergency department.
In other words, hospitals must apply their standard screening procedures to all patients regardless of their ability to pay. In the subject case, the court found that the plaintiff failed to set forth allegations that, if proven to be true, would establish that he received disparate treatment due to this inability to pay. Further, the court stated that he neglected to assert facts demonstrating that his alleged harm was the result of his disparate treatment. As such, the court dismissed his complaint.
Meet with a Seasoned Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorney
Doctors have a duty to provide patients with competent medical care, regardless of the patient’s financial means, and if they do not, their patients may be able to pursue medical malpractice claims and other causes of action against them. If you sustained losses due to inadequate medical treatment, it is in your best interest to meet with a lawyer. The seasoned Maryland attorneys of Arfaa Law Group are proficient at helping people seek damages for the harm caused by reckless physicians, and if you hire us, we will advocate zealously on your behalf. You can reach us through our online form or by calling us at (410) 889-1850 to set up a meeting.