Quality healthcare has been a volatile topic of debate in the United States for several years. Despite the arguments about affordable health coverage, Americans in New York and elsewhere expect a high quality of service when they visit hospitals and medical centers. You are within your rights to expect to be treated with dignity and to have your medical issue taken care of, regardless of your ability to pay when you go to the hospital.
Unfortunately, the opposite can be said for many hospitals across the country. The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act of 1986 was enacted to protect patients from being denied emergency care if they had no insurance, as well as to ensure they are discharged from the hospital in a safe environment. Sadly, the practice of “patient dumping” has continued in numerous facilities, as Healthcare Dive explains. Patient dumping occurs when you are discharged prematurely from the hospital without a safe place to go.
Last winter, a mentally ill woman was escorted to a bus stop by hospital personnel outside the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, wearing nothing but a hospital gown in freezing weather. A man who witnessed the event said the woman appeared incoherent, and he feared she would be unable to board the bus on her own. Fortunately, he stayed with her until he could get her help, and his reporting of the incident led to national outrage against the problem of patient dumping, as you might imagine.
If you are seriously ill or incapacitated and the hospital sends you away without anyone to pick you up, your condition could worsen, or you could suffer an injury if you are not fully able to defend yourself or find your way home. You may be able to seek compensation if you are a victim of patient dumping. As this topic may be complicated, this blog post should not take the place of legal advice.