Is denying treatment medical malpractice?

December 31, 2020 | Crandall & Pera Law
Is denying treatment medical malpractice?

Not all visits to a hospital are going to be for a serious issue, but the one thing all patients expect from visitation is to receive proper medical treatment. However, what happens when treatment is denied and your minor issue becomes a serious one? Does that constitute as a form of medical malpractice? Read on to learn further about this common question being asked about by people in Ohio and around the nation.

The law

According to the Federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, a Medicare-approved hospital is not allowed to deny anyone medical treatment if they come in with an emergency and do not have the means to pay for it. The "anti-dumping" act was enacted in 1986 as a means to protect women in labor who may not have the funds to pay for their delivery, and that protection was later extended to the rest of the public.

When is treatment legally allowed to be denied?

One of the most common misconceptions patients have is that being denied medical care for a short amount of time is considered medical malpractice. This is simply not the case. Often, medical staff will need to determine who needs urgent care immediately and who can wait. For example, someone who has come in with a severe burn may get treated before someone with a sprained ankle.

An unstabilized release

In cases in which a person was kicked out of the hospital or allowed to leave before they were considered stabilized, a lawsuit pertaining to medical malpractice may be heard by the courts. This is because the hospital might have been negligent in releasing someone who was clearly unable to survive on their own. In cases involving being denied medical care, seeking advice from an attorney should be the first step you take. The reason is that it can be complex to prove medical malpractice, so you'll want help gathering evidence to support your case.