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Patient Dumping: the Sad Reality

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As you may have seen reported by national media outlets, a tragic video showed a Baltimore, Maryland, hospital placing a patient outside near a bus terminal rather than treating the young woman in question or calling appropriate medical personnel to assist.

Sadly, this is still occurring in the United States when hospitals or other health care facilities release patients without proper treatment. These are typically individuals that suffer from mental illness or are homeless. This practice allows the hospital to save money on what could prove to be costly treatment.  In theory, these facilities are choosing money over humanity, morality and decency.

According to an article published by the LA Times, Gardens Regional Hospital paid a $450,000 settlement to a homeless man for patient dumping. Another case of patient dumping occurred in San Fernando, CA, also reported by the LA Times here. San Fernando Valley Hospital paid approximately $1 million in civil penalties for placing a homeless patient in a taxi-cab while unaware of her whereabouts thereafter.

These are patients that require treatment and interaction with necessary social services but are being treated as though they don’t exist. The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) was enacted by Congress in 1986 to ensure proper treatment and care for all patients at all hospitals, regardless of ability to pay.  

As evidenced by the most recent transgression in Baltimore, not all facilities are following the law. The inhumane practice of patient dumping must stop, but only through stiff government regulations and punishment along with significant training of hospital staff.

If you witness or know of a case involving patient dumping please contact your local authorities for help.  This practice cannot be tolerated, as we believe all people should have the right to proper medical treatment and care, regardless of ability to pay.

The Chiozza Law Firm is a Memphis based, family run law firm specializing in legal matters related to medical malpractice, traumatic injury, wrongful death and serious personal injury.  If you need assistance with a legal matter please visit us, call 901-526-9494, or complete our form for a free case evaluation. We promise in writing that if we are unable to get you money on your claim then you owe us nothing.

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Posted by Brian Chiozza at 4:50 PM
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