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Georgia Hospital Settles Case Involving Patient Dumping Allegation

On January 11, 2018, Piedmont Newton Hospital (Piedmont), Covington, Georgia, entered into a $52,414 settlement agreement with OIG. The settlement agreement resolves allegations that Piedmont violated the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act when it failed to provide an appropriate medical screening examination and stabilizing treatment for a patient and then inappropriately transferred the patient to another hospital. The patient, a 58-year-old woman, arrived at Piedmont's Emergency Department (ED) by private vehicle, complaining of left-sided pleuritic chest pain and abdominal pain. An ED physician examined the patient and noted that her abdomen was diffusely firm with hypoactive bowel sounds. The patient's blood samples revealed that her lactic acid and bleeding and clotting time were elevated. The patient's chest x-ray showed a large amount of intraperitoneal air under the right diaphragm, which suggested bowel perforation. The ED physician discussed the patient's condition with the on-call surgeon, who recommended that the patient be transferred to the other hospital where she had undergone a dilation and curettage procedure two days earlier. The other hospital agreed to accept the transfer and asked that the patient be air-lifted to its facility. Three hours and forty-seven minutes after her arrival at Piedmont's ED, the patient was transferred to the other hospital in critical condition. Upon arrival at the other hospital, the patient was in septic shock and on the verge of respiratory collapse. Even after receiving emergency surgery to repair the bowel perforation, the patient's condition continued to worsen and she died later that day. Associate Counsel Srishti Sheffner represented OIG.

Action Details

  • Date:January 11, 2018
  • Enforcement Types:
    • CMP and Affirmative Exclusions