When a care provider enters into an agreement to provide care for a patient and terminates the agreement without the consent of the patient and without giving proper warning or making acceptable alternative arrangements, this is patient abandonment.

If someone is clearly in need of medical care and that care is not provided or someone is receiving medical care and a care provider stops, both of these situations are forms of patient abandonment. A person entering an emergency room who requires immediate treatment and does not receive it has been abandoned, just as a patient who is left in an emergency room by an ambulance crew which does not follow transfer protocol to ensure that a care provider is taking over treatment has been abandoned.

Patient abandonment is a form of neglect in which a patient is not provided with care or is provided with inadequate care.

Similarly,  patient dumping happens when a medically unstable patient is transferred or discharged for financial reasons. Hospitals are dumping indigent patients all the time. The Arlene Berry story  is a testament to that. Not only was she dumped, she was murdered by her very health-care providers  following “iatrogenic” injury because she had thus become an economic inconvenience,   the end result of  mindless hospital cost containment policies.

Hundreds of hospitals across the country are guilty of illegal patient dumping or not providing patients with proper emergency room treatment as required by law.

When a hospital emergency department denies medical screening or stabilizing treatment, or if it inappropriately transfers an individual whose condition is not stable, the hospital is “dumping” the patient. To document a stable patient condition in the face of evidence to the contrary is proof of the deceptive methods used by doctors and hospitals passing the buck to avert liability, or cut costs.

Patient Dumping: A Dark Side of Health Care

NurseWeek Legal File: Patient Dumping

The Arlene Berry Case

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