Patient Anti-Dumping Statutes - Recent Lawsuit

In recent news, on December 23, 2009, a federal lawsuit was filed against University Medical Center and Valley Hospital in Las Vegas. The suit alleges that a woman and her husband arrived at the UMC emergency room on November 30, 2009 with severe abdominal pain and waited for six hours without being treated or examined. Ultimately, it turned out that the woman was pregnant and, after leaving the hospital without being assessed or provided any treatment, she gave birth at home to a baby girl. The baby was approximately 26 weeks along at the time of the unexpected breach birth. The lawsuit alleges that paramedics assisted with the breach birth and that "the baby took a few spontaneous respirations and then went into distress." According to the allegations in the lawsuit, the baby girl died shortly thereafter.

The couple claims that UMC's actions violated the Emergency Medical Treatment & Active Labor Act (EMTALA). Congress enacted EMTALA to prevent patient dumping, which is the practice of private-hospital emergency rooms refusing to treat indigent patients by transferring them to a public hospital or turning them away. EMTALA allows for civil actions against the hospital that committed the offense. Under EMTALA, when a patient presents to the emergency room and requests treatment, the hospital: (1) must conduct an adequate medical screening of persons visiting the hospital's emergency room, and (2) a hospital cannot transfer to another hospital patients whose medial conditions have not been stabilized.

EMTALA is a federal statute that applies across the county; however, Texas has a similar statute that prevents patient dumping in emergency scenarios. Under the Texas Health & Safety Code, an officer, employee, or medical staff member of a general hospital cannot deny emergency services to a person merely because that person cannot establish the ability to pay for the services or because of that person's race, religion, or national ancestry if: (1) the services are available at the hospital and (2) the person is diagnosed by a licensed physician as requiring those services.

When hospitals engage in denying emergency treatment to those in need, there are statutes that can be used to address the damages that are caused by the offending hospital. If you or a loved one has been denied necessary emergency medical care at an emergency room, which results in injury or death, you should contact Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto, & Friend for a free consultation.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Awards & Recognition

  • 2016-2017 Equal Access to Justice Champion

    The Equal Access to Justice Champions Program was started by the Houston Bar Association in 2006, to help ensure placement of Houston Volunteer Lawyers cases with pro bono volunteers. Originally, firms were tiered according to size, and firms within each tier committed to accept a certain number of pro bono cases from HVL each year for five years.

  • The National Trial Lawyers | Top 100 Trial Lawyers

    The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 is an invitation-only organization composed of the premier trial lawyers from each state or region who meet stringent qualifications as civil plaintiff and/or criminal defense trial lawyers. Selection is based on a thorough multi-phase objective and uniformly applied process which includes peer nominations combined with third-party research.

  • Million Dollar Advocates Forum

    Established in 1993, the Million Dollar Advocates Forum (which includes the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum) is one of the most prestigious groups of trial lawyers in the United States. Membership is limited to attorneys who have won million and multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. There are over 4000 members throughout the country. Fewer than 1% of U.S. lawyers are members.

  • Recognized by Best Lawyers America | Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz | 2017

    Recognition by Best Lawyers is based entirely on peer review. Their methodology is designed to capture, as accurately as possible, the consensus opinion of leading lawyers about the professional abilities of their colleagues within the same geographical area and legal practice area.

  • Lead Counsel Rated

    In order to earn the Lead Counsel Rating, an attorney must not only demonstrate significant legal experience, but must also receive multiple peer recommendations advocating his or her ability. This is a key component in the screening process.

  • Texas Super Lawyers | Texas Monthly

    Each year, Super Lawyers recognizes the top lawyers in Texas via a patented multiphase selection process involving peer nomination, independent research and peer evaluation. The Texas lawyers who receive the highest point totals during this selection process are further recognized in Texas Super Lawyers Top Lists.

Get Your Free Case Review 713.587.9668

Let Us Help You Today! Request a Free Consultation

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

  • $50+ Million Personal Injury Fire and Explosion

    The firm successfully represented nearly 100 victims who suffered personal injuries and damages to property from a large fire and explosion resulting in a settlement of more than $50 million. The firm served as lead lawyers on the steering committee in this litigation.

  • $80 Million Personal Injury Large Plant Explosion

    The firm successfully represented 270 plaintiffs', taking a lead role in the plaintiffs' steering committee, who suffered injuries in a large plant explosion resulting in a settlement of nearly $80 million.

  • $50+ Million Personal Injury Plant Fire and Explosion

    The firm successfully represented 45 personal injury victims in a plant fire and explosion, serving on the plaintiffs' steering committee, concluding with a settlement of more than $50 million.

  • $22+ Million Personal Injury Work Site Accident

    The firm prevailed in a personal injury trial for a worksite injury client with the jury returning a verdict and resulting in a judgment of over $22 million for the firm's client.

  • $12 Million Auto Accident 18-Wheeler Collision

    The firm successfully achieved a $12 million settlement for the family of a man who died in an 18 wheeler collision.

  • $30 Million Personal Injury Burn Victims

    The firm prevailed on behalf of three burn victims with settlements totaling nearly $30 million.

Our Record Of Success.

When you are hurt and you choose a law firm to represent you in court or at the negotiation table, you need to carefully consider the firm's record.

More Success Stories