The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (“Federal Appellate Court”) affirmed in its decision dated June 28, 2021: “Beginning with the EMTALA [Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act] claims, we agree that the operative complaint alleges no facts that would establish a violation of the statute. To the contrary, the complaint acknowledges that Franciscan [Health Hospital] met the Act’s screening requirement by examining Nartey’s mother and determining an emergency condition existed. See 42 U.S.C. 8 No. 19‐3342 § 1395dd(a). At that point, the Act required that Franciscan either provide further treatment or transfer Nartey’s mother in accordance with certain parameters. See Id. § 1395dd(b)(1). Franciscan met its obligation by choosing the former—admitting Nartey’s mother into the ICU. 42 C.F.R. § 489.24(d)(2)(i). Indeed, the Act discourages transferring patients instead of providing treatment. See § 1395dd(b)(1)(A)–(B).”
“Nartey is dissatisfied with the quality and scope of the treatment her mother received at Franciscan, but the EMTALA is not a malpractice statute covering treatment after an emergency patient is screened and admitted. We therefore join the chorus of circuits that have concluded the EMTALA cannot be used to challenge the quality of medical care.”
“As with the EMTALA, Illinois law provides hospitals with the option of admitting the patient for appropriate care or transferring the patient to another facility.” 210 ILCS 50/3.117(b)(3)(B), (b)(3)(H).
The Underlying Facts
During the afternoon of August 3, 2016, paramedics rushed Millicent Nartey to the hospital after she complained of being unable to support her weight. She arrived at Franciscan Health Olympia Fields, a designated acute‐stroke‐ready hospital, with her husband and children, including her daughter Isabella Nartey. Finding Millicent at risk of a stroke, the hospital transferred her to its intensive care unit.
Three days later, Millicent suffered a stroke. Her condition deteriorated quickly, and she was put on life support. Over the next few days, the family expressed concern about the adequacy of care at Franciscan and sought to transfer Millicent to another facility. Franciscan assisted in submitting the transfer paperwork to two other hospitals. But both declined the requests for insurance reasons. On August 17, while a third transfer request was pending, Franciscan advised the family that Millicent was brain dead and that the hospital had decided to stop treatment and cancel the outstanding transfer request.
Nearly two years later, Nartey reviewed her mother’s medical records from Franciscan. She claimed the records lacked the transfer paperwork and some test results, including an MRI and CT scan. On August 3, 2018, Nartey, acting pro se, sued the hospital alleging numerous claims under state and federal law.
The Federal Appellate Court concluded: “We have considered Nartey’s other arguments and determined they lack merit.”
Source Nartey v. Franciscan Health Hospital, No. 19‐3342.
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