American Journal of Law & Medicine

EMTALA: physical presence in emergency department - Arrington v. Wong.

EMTALA: Physical Presence in Emergency Department--Arrington v. Wong(1) --The U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii held that to bring a claim under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA)(2) a patient must physically "come to" the emergency department of a hospital.(3) Although the Ninth Circuit has not yet addressed how to interpret the language of EMTALA, the district court followed decisions by the Fifth and Seventh Circuits which held that physical presence is required for EMTALA liability.(4) The district court reasoned that the plain language of EMTALA makes clear that the statute is only triggered by a patient's physical presence at a hospital emergency department,(5) and that to hold otherwise would distort the language of the statute and be inconsistent with congressional intent in passing EMTALA. …

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