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September 23, 2022

Kentucky Hospital Loses $2.4 Million EMTALA Suit

On September 13, a jury found that Baptist Health Lexington violated the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) when a patient presented to the hospital’s emergency department.  The facts include that the hospital refused to see a heart attack patient brought to the hospital by EMS and instructed the EMTs to instead take the patient to the University of Kentucky’s Chandler Medical Center, without assessing, stabilizing, or treating the patient. Although Baptist argued there was no cardiothoracic surgeon on call, and the hospital believed the patient would receive faster treatment if taken elsewhere, the jury found that Baptist violated EMTALA and acted with gross negligence, and they awarded the plaintiff $545,000 in compensatory damages and $1.85 million in punitive damages. 

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