Doctors, nurses, and other people in the medical profession play important roles that are integral to the workings of a community. Without their help, individuals will be unable to receive proper medical attention vital to their health and well-being. This is particularly true for individuals who find themselves in emergency medical situation and require immediate attention. The United States Congress enacted the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act or EMTALA in the year 1986 to ensure that people in medical distress are able to receive the help they require regardless of their financial status or any other similar constraints.
Under the EMTALA, all hospitals with emergency room facilities that participate in the national health insurance program Medicare are required to provide appropriate medical screening and treatment for any patient who comes in with an emergency condition. The EMTALA also insists that hospitals must be able to stabilize the patient’s condition before being transferred to another facility. It also bars the hospital from asking for any type of advanced fees or payments when a patient or their representative asks for medical help.
The law defines an emergency medical condition as any situation that is characterized by severe acute symptoms that could result in the person’s health being put in serious jeopardy or significantly increasing risk of impairment or dysfunction of bodily functions and organs without proper intervention. EMTALA also provides for special provisions for emergency medical conditions involving pregnant women. Patients who are having contractions must be promptly examined and treated when there is little time to arrange a hospital transfer before delivery or when transferring to another hospital adds a significant amount of risk to the health of the patient and her unborn child.
The website of McCutchen & Sexton – The Law Firm also adds that patients who will need to be transferred to another hospital due to lack of staff and facilities must be provided with necessary treatments to reduce any risk. The hospital who will be receiving the patient must also agree to the transfer, noting that they have enough space, equipment, and personnel to deal with the situation. Failure to follow through with these regulations may result in the wrongful death of a patient and other medical malpractice scenarios. As a result, it’s important that medical professionals take note of their responsibilities to address the needs of a patient dealing with an emergency condition.