PHILADELPHIA – Defendants in a case brought under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) have submitted to the court a motion for partial dismissal over allegations that the plaintiffs failed to state a claim.
The initial claim was brought to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania by plaintiffs Dawn L. McClure and Gregory A. McClure on July 7. The couple allege that the defendants - Chester County Hospital, Chester County Hospital and Health System (the moving defendants) and Eric L. Parvis, M.D. - are guilty of medical professional negligence and of violating the EMTALA.
The moving defendants filed their motion to dismiss on Sept. 19 to Judge Timothy J. Savage.
According to the motion, Dawn McClure made an appointment with her primary care physician on Sept. 8, 2015, but was turned away for arriving too late and was directed to an urgent care facility. Upon arrival at a clinic, the staff called 911 to have Dawn transported to the hospital, where she waited for almost four hours to be triaged.
The plaintiffs claim that the delay in seeing a doctor and the hospital’s failure to immediately diagnose Dawn’s right parietal hemorrhage resulted in permanent, severe neurological damage, including vision loss.
The moving defendants do not argue the facts of the case; they concede that she was admitted at 1 p.m. but not triaged until 4:42 p.m.
“Unfortunately, wife-plaintiff’s relatively benign symptoms shrouded her more serious condition,” reads the motion.
However, their motion hinges on the fact that this delay does not amount to a violation of the EMTALA, which requires that hospitals treat all patients in a manner consistent with how others presenting the same symptoms have been treated, regardless of their wealth or status.
Because the plaintiffs were seen and screened immediately, the moving defendants argue, the hospital met its obligations under EMTALA. Its failure to recognize her symptoms for what they actually meant does not make them guilty of violating the Act.
“Plaintiffs’ complaint alleges that moving defendants violated EMTALA by ‘treating wife-plaintiff disparately from other similarly-situated patients.’ However, plaintiffs’ complaint fails to contain even a single factual allegation that, if true, would support this claim,” reads the motion to dismiss.
The moving defendants argue that the plaintiffs’ claims on the EMTALA fail, and “at most, these allegations outline a claim in strict medical malpractice negligence.”
As such, they further move that if the court grants the motion to dismiss the EMTALA claims, it should also remove the case to the state court in Chester County to decide the negligence claims. It was only brought to federal court because of the EMTALA claim, therefore dismissing that claim would leave no reason for the court to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the case, argues the motion.