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Tennessee Hospital Settles Case Involving Patient Dumping Allegation

On December 6, 2017, Dyersburg Hospital Company, LLC d/b/a Dyersburg Regional Medical Center (DRMC), Dyersburg, Tennessee, entered into a $45,000 settlement agreement with OIG. The settlement agreement resolves allegations that based on OIG’s investigation, DRMC violated the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act when it failed to provide an appropriate medical screening examination and stabilizing treatment to a patient who presented to DRMC’s Emergency Department (ED). The patient, a 58-year-old woman and resident of a long-term care facility, fell in the shower and was taken to DRMC’s ED for evaluation and treatment. The ED physician initiated a medical screening examination and documented the patient’s symptoms of head pain, altered mental state, and her reported symptom of near fainting. Lab work revealed an abnormal glucose level and abnormal hematocrit results. The ED physician planned to discharge the patient back to the nursing home. Before discharge, it was noticed that the patient’s right arm was swollen compared to when she arrived. Her discharge was cancelled and x-rays were ordered which revealed no evidence of a fracture. Six hours after triage, a nurse reported that the patient required suctioning. Nine hours after triage the patient received a neurological check and the nurse documented that she was not oriented to time, place, person, or situation. The physician then ordered Narcan and a CT scan. Since DRMC’s CT scan could not support the patient’s weight, DRMC’s ED contacted other hospitals to transfer the patient. Approximately 2.5 hours later the patient was admitted to another hospital where she received a CT scan. The CT scan showed a hematoma on her brain as well as Coumadin intoxication. The hospital then ordered an EEG, which showed no brain activity, and the patient died later that day. Senior Counsel Sandra Sands represented OIG.

Action Details

  • Date:December 6, 2017
  • Enforcement Types:
    • CMP and Affirmative Exclusions