Refusing Emergency Care to Poor Patients

Little Rock Medical Malpractice Lawyer Serving All of Arkansas

Hospitals Make More Money by Denying Care to Poor People

Hospitals make millions of dollars. Hospital administrators make huge salaries and bonuses, as do the executives of the corporations that own hospitals. Not surprisingly, they like it that way – and for that reason hospitals don’t want to care for patients with no insurance and no money.

All hospitals also take millions of dollars a year from the federal and state governments in grants, Medicaid and Medicare payments, and tax breaks. They don’t want to lose that money, either.

Protection for Emergency Patients

There used to be a flagrant epidemic of hospitals “dumping” or turning away patients who needed emergency care but had no money to pay for it. Cases of hospitals literally hiring cabs to transport emergency patients and women in labor to street corners miles away made national news.

In response, Congress passed the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, known as “EMTALA” to stop hospitals turning away dying or pregnant patients just because they were poor. EMTALA requires any hospital which receives federal Medicare or Medicaid funding to ensure that all patients receive care for emergency conditions, and that all women in active labor who come to a hospital receive treatment.

Hospitals that refuse emergency care to people just because they can’t pay can lose federal funding and are subject to large fines.

Patient Dumping Still Common, but Less Obvious

Denying Emergency Care Due to Patient Economic Status Is IllegalUnfortunately, many hospital emergency departments still routinely deny emergency care to patients. They aren’t as obvious about it as they used to be, but it still happens.

Hospitals make poor people wait hours longer than people with insurance, hoping that the poor folks will just leave. They delay or refuse necessary tests. Instead of being seen by a doctor, poor folks get seen by a nurse. When a doctor does come, he spends just seconds with the patient when a serious examination is required.

This is not only medical malpractice, it is a violation of federal law.

Making Things Better

Abuse of poor patients by rich hospitals in order to make a profit is intolerable in our society. The very idea that corporations which take millions of dollars in aid from our government would seek to inflate profits by denying care to dying people just because they are poor is repulsive.

At Polewski & Associates, our lawyers are proud to handle EMTALA cases for people and families hurt by this kind of medical malpractice. These lawsuits not only help the families of those injured, but also help stop the abuse. No hospital that gets caught in an EMTALA violation can afford not to fix its policies and procedures.

Your medical malpractice suit based on EMTALA could save a life.

Don’t Delay. Contact Us Now.

Your call to us, and our consultations with you, are free. Contact Polewski & Associates at 501-404-0062 today.