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Alabama Hospital Settles Case Involving Patient Dumping Allegations

On December 21, 2018, Mobile Infirmary Medical Center (MIMC), Mobile, Alabama, entered into an $80,000 settlement agreement with OIG. The settlement resolves allegations that, based on OIG's investigation, MIMC violated the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) when it failed to provide an adequate medical screening examination and stabilizing treatment for two individuals. The first patient, a 24-year-old male presented to MIMC's Emergency Department (ED) complaining of weakness and exhibited altered mental status. He was reportedly aggressive and non-compliant with staff directions. When he was leaving the ED he apparently collapsed. A security guard, a hospital employee, put him in a wheelchair and wheeled the patient off hospital property - where he was left on the ground. Approximately four hours later the patient was found cold, with decreased responsiveness. He was transported to another hospital by ambulance. He died two weeks later. The second patient, a 35-year-old male, presented to MIMC's ED accompanied by his girlfriend. The patient complained of shortness of breath and chest pain. The patient requested to see a physician and became belligerent when a nurse asked him why. That led to the patient being escorted out of the ED by security. Several minutes later, the patient returned to the ED. This time, the patient's girlfriend drove up to the ambulance bay and reported that the patient had suffered a seizure and was lying in her truck. She was informed by staff that they would not help get the patient out of the truck. In addition, the security guard told her she had to leave. The patient's girlfriend then took him to another hospital where he was pronounced dead within 20 minutes of his arrival. Senior Counsel Sandra Sands represented OIG.

Action Details

  • Date:December 21, 2018
  • Enforcement Types:
    • CMP and Affirmative Exclusions