Patient dumping is the practice of hospitals physically removing patients from the hospital, usually prematurely, and almost always those who are indigent or on Medicare. Many patients have been refused care, while others have been transferred elsewhere. Patients on Medicare have had the right to challenge a premature discharge after treatment since 1986 after the passage of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA). While this regulation was adopted primarily to fight Medicare fraud, you may be able to file a medical malpractice suit if you or a family member was negligently “dumped” by the hospital, especially if treatment was subpar or non-existent.
When a hospital fails to provide care, they are acting negligently. When a hospital acts in a negligent manner, they are committing malpractice. Acting under the assumption that indigent patients will not have anywhere to turn and may not be taken seriously by authorities, hospitals will often remove patients to the skid row section of the city.
The practice of patient dumping raises questions of how we treat our homeless, as well as why doctors, medical staff, and hospital administrators would act negligently toward people who often need help more than the average citizen.
For the past several years, there have been hospitals or individual doctors accused of patient dumping who are brought to court. They nearly always deny the practice, but settle out of court for tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Medical malpractice is a blot on the record of these health care professionals that they will never live down. While it is in their best interest to attempt to settle, bringing to light the names of hospitals and doctors who practice patient dumping is certainly a start.
We have the right to be treated as well as possible when we go to the hospital. When doctors, nurses, or others on the hospital staff refuse treatment, ignore symptoms, or are outright hostile to those in need, the best recourse is to speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.
Source: Digital Journal at: http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/763329#ixzz24zBgiUrO
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