EMTALA: Delay in Screening Examination May Equate to Denial of Screening

April 11, 2018 | Risk Management News

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​A U.S. district court in Pennsylvania determined that a plaintiff may go forward with a claim that a nearly four-hour delay in performing a screening examination constituted a violation of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA). The court also permitted the plaintiff to proceed with claims of negligence and corporate negligence against a primary care office practice and the board of trustees responsible for both the defendant physician practice and the defendant hospital.

The plaintiff asserted that after waking with a severe headache and vision problems, she scheduled an appointment with her primary care physician. She arrived 15 minutes late for her appointment and the physician office staff refused to see her, directing her instead to a nearby independent urgent care facility, where she went directly. At the urgent care center, a nurse practitioner saw her for headache, disorientation, and vomiting, and called an ambulance. The ambulance arrived at 12:13 p.m. and transported the plaintiff to the hospital, where she arrived at approximately 12:50 p.m. She was placed in a triage room, registered with a presentation documented as...

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