Is it against the law if a doctor does not examine a patient who goes to the ER? 6 Answers as of March 26, 2013

I went to the emergency room but the doctor never examined me nor gave me any prescription. Is that against the law?

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Mark S. Hubert PC
Mark S. Hubert PC | Mark Hubert
This is not my field of law.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 3/26/2013
Barton Barton & Plotkin
Barton Barton & Plotkin | Maurice Ross
No. You have no right to be examined by a doctor, nor do you have the right to a prescription. The issue is whether you received appropriate treatment for a true emergency. If it was a true emergency, then the issue is whether you had appropriate treatment (which may not require that you see a doctor). If this was not a true emergency, and you were only sick, you had no right to be treated nor did you have the right to see a doctor. There are circumstances involving life threatening emergencies (such as gunshot wounds, heart attacks, strokes, etc), where hospitals in NY are legally required to provide service. But if there is no life threatening emergency, then emergency rooms have no obligation to provide care. And even if they provide care, this does not necessarily mean that a patient will see a doctor or be provided a prescription. The legal analysis behind this conclusion is set forth below. "In 1986, Congress enacted the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act ("EMTALA"), 42 U.S.C. 1395dd. The purpose of EMTALA is to prevent "'patient dumping,' the practice of refusing to provide emergency medical treatment to patients unable to pay, or transferring them before emergency conditions [are] stabilized." Power v. Arlington Hosp. Ass'n, 42 F.3d 851, 856 (4th Cir. 1994); see Bryan v. Rectors and Visitors of the Univ. of Virginia, 95 F.3d 349, 351 (4th Cir. 1996); Correa v. Hospital San Francisco, 69 F.3d 1184, 1189 (1st Cir. 1995); see also H.R. Rep. No. 241, 99th Cong., 1st Sess. 27 (1986), reprinted in 1986 U.S.C.C.A.N. 42, 605, 726-27. EMTALA, which applies to all hospitals that participate in the federal Medicare program, imposes two primary obligations on those hospitals. First, when an individual shows up for treatment at a hospital's emergency room, "the hospital must provide for an appropriate medical screening examination . . . to determine whether or not an emergency medical condition" exists. 42 U.S.C. 1395dd(a). Second, if the screening examination indicates that an emergency medical condition does exist, the hospital ordinarily must "stabilize the medical condition" before transferring or discharging the patient. Id. 1395dd(b)(1)(A)." If there is no emergency condition, then the hospital has no obligation to treat the patient.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 3/25/2013
Law Office of Mathew R. P. Perrone, Jr. | Mathew Roy Patrick Perrone, Jr.
This is not a PATENT question.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 3/22/2013
Law Office of Kirk Buhler
Law Office of Kirk Buhler | Kirk A Buhler
There is no requirement that you be examined by a doctor, or that they proscribe medication. Generally they must provide aid if required by the situation. You entered the ER and someone at the hospital must have discussed your situation with you. If your injuries were life threatening then they must provide assistance as needed. It is possible that the hospital reviewed your condition (possibly by a doctor that you did not see) and you were released.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/22/2013
Sebby Law Office
Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
Without adequate details about your reason for a visit to the ER, its hard to answer your question. Generally, an emergency room is only required to stabilize the patient. Once stabilized, the patient may be released to go home, transferred to another location for additional care, or admitted to that hospital if beds are available. If the injury is minimal, another health care provider such as a nurse practitioner may be authorized to provide ER care. A triage center can even refuse to treat someone who has repeatedly abused their service by falsely declaring the need for emergency treatment when there is nothing wrong with the person. There is no obligation to provide a prescription if the patient doesnt need it and ERs are increasingly aware of fraudulent attempts to obtain drugs for illegal purposes.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 3/22/2013
    Ochoa and Associates
    Ochoa and Associates | Susan Ochoa Spiering
    this is not an intellectual property directed patent. It is best to discuss this with an attorney who handles medical malpractices legal matters.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 3/22/2013
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