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Mercy Hospital in Miami, FL Settles EMTALA Case

Mercy Hospital - a campus of Plantation General Hospital in Miami, FL - agreed to pay $45,000 to resolve allegations that it failed to provide appropriate medical screening for a 24-day-old baby brought to the hospital's Emergency Department for an emergency medical condition, including persistent low body temperature. The Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services alleged that Mercy Hospital violated the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) by failing to provide adequate evaluation and treatment because it did not address the newborn's low temperature nor did it order any further laboratory tests, such as a blood count, blood chemistry lab, or urinalysis, before telling the parents to take the baby home. Minutes after leaving the hospital, the baby suffered cardiac arrest, kidney injury and potential injury to the brain from lack of oxygen because of an issue with the bowel, known as necrotic bowel. OIG contends that EMTALA is intended to protect vulnerable patients such as newborn babies who cannot articulate their own needs, and medical professionals must consider appropriate diagnostic techniques and adequately listen to family members presenting the baby's chief symptoms.

Action Details

  • Date:May 14, 2014
  • Enforcement Types:
    • CMP and Affirmative Exclusions