What Is Patient Dumping, And How Do You Prove It?

Patient dumping is the inhumane treatment where a medical facility turns away a patient in need of emergency care because the patient lacks the means (insurance or money) to pay for their treatment. Although the practice is technically illegal (at least for Medicare-participating facilities), there are still health care centers that practice it.

Unfortunately, being dumped may result in medical complications for a patient. Consider an example in which you have developed internal bleeding after getting injured in a car accident. If a hospital turns you away and you have to seek help elsewhere, some of your internal organs may fail and experience temporary or permanent damage if they don't get adequate blood. In such a case, you may have a viable medical malpractice claim against the hospital depending on your circumstances.

Here are some of the things you may have to prove in your claim or lawsuit:

The Hospital Did Not Screen You

Every Medicare-participating hospital has the obligation of screening all patients who come into its emergency room. The screening is used to determine who actually needs emergency medical care and those who are stable. Therefore, you may have a claim against a hospital that turned you away from its emergency room without giving you any form of screening.

The Hospital Did Not Stabilize You

If a hospital screens you and finds that you have an emergency medical care, it should provide that care. After that, it is up to the hospital to determine whether it should continue with further treatment or transfer you to another facility. This means it is not just enough for a hospital to screen you; it also needs to stabilize you if you need stabilization. Therefore, if a hospital screens you and finds that you need emergency care but you can't pay for the care, and then turns you away, then it is breaking the law.

The Hospital Did Not Transfer You Appropriately

There are standard procedures that health care facilities must follow when transferring patients. For example, those who are seriously injured and cannot travel by normal means of transportation should be transported in ambulances to prevent further injury. This means if the hospital just tells you to go to a certain facility, and you end up with further injury while driving there, you may have a claim against that hospital.

The Hospital Had the Capacity to Do All The Above

Lastly, you will also need to prove that the hospital had the capacity to do the duty or provide the care you are claiming it did not do. For example, if you are seeking damages because a hospital screened and turned you away without stabilization, you need to prove that it had the instruments and personnel to stabilize you.

Contact a lawyer, like Nicholas B. Hall - Personal Injury Lawyer, for more help.