The very existence of the medicine profession is to help find solution to patients who are suffering from various diseases. However in most situations the patients will have to pay for the services offered by the doctor. This is no crime; every profession exists so that those who specialize in those professions can make a living after offering their service. With this said it is good to note that there are times when a patient may need an emergent medical attention but may not be able to pay. During these times the patient should be able to be treated even if the doctor knows that he won’t pay. It is a responsibility of every doctor to tend his services to a patient who needs emergency care even without pay failure to which he will be imprisoned for failing to save a life that would have been saved had he offered his services to the patient on the right time. Doctors know this and so they strive to give help when these situations pop up.
In medical laws any patient who needs an emergency response has a right to be treated and even a drug addict who is at the verge of losing his life as a result of addiction, withdrawal effects or drug overdose is termed an emergency case and so should be treated just like any other person who might have required a medical emergency from any unfortunate happening like road accident. Any person has a right to treatment at the times of emergency since without treatment the person may become disabled or may die.
Both public and private hospitals have a duty to administer medical care to a person experiencing an emergency. It is therefore in every doctor’s domain to treat a patient that needs emergency response failure to which he shall be legally responsible for the death of the patient.
If a hospital hasemergency facilities, it is legally required to provide appropriate treatment to a person experiencing an emergency. If the hospital is unableto provide emergency services, it must provide a referral for approriate treatment. Hospitals cannot refuse to treat prospective patient’s onthe basis of race, religion, or national origin, or refuse to treat someone with HIV or AIDS.
In 1986, Congress passed the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) (42 U.S.C.A. § 1395dd), which establishedcriteria for emergency services and criteria for safe transfer of patients between hospitals. This statute was designed to prevent transferring an undesirable patient to another facility.The law applies to all hospitals receiving federal funds, such asMedicare. The law requires hospitals to provide a screening exam to determine if an emergency condition exists, providestabilizing treatment to any emergency patient or to any woman in active labor before transfer, and continue treatment until a patient can bedischarged or transferred without harm. It also delineates strict guidelines for the transfer of a patient who cannot be stabilized. A hospitalthat negligently or knowingly and willfully violates any of these provisions can be terminated or suspended from Medicare.The physician,the hospital, or both can also be penalized up to $50,000 for each knowing violation of thelaw.
Any patient who needs emergency attention should receive it since if it is delayed there might be a loss of life. Therefore if a doctor is asked to attend to a medical emergency as defined in this statement, he must respond. This is both an ethical and legal obligation and therefore every doctor should abide. However rare there will be times when attending a medical emergency is impossible or unsafe for the doctor or patient. If a doctor chooses not to attend he or she may be required to defend that decision in the event of a charge of professional misconduct or criminal prosecution. The patient who needs medical attention is therefore catered for and should not be ignored.
A doctor is at risk of being professionally or criminally responsible of the death of a patient if he or she fails to render prompt and appropriate medical care to any person whether the patient is a current patient has just came in, in a medical emergency. A doctor who chooses not to attend must have good reason and be able to defend this position at a later time otherwise he will be charged in a court of law for medical negligence.
However there are situations when a doctor, may or should not attend a medical emergency. These scenarios may include;
- if he or she is already attending another emergency
- if it is more appropriate for an emergency service to attend (i.e. ambulance or rescue helicopter);
- the geographical location of the doctor is such that another doctor or medical service can attend more promptly;
- if he or she is off duty at the time of the call and has been drinking alcohol or taken medication or other substances to a level that may adversely influence the doctor’s level of competence;
- If attending the emergency places the personal safety of the doctor at risk.
- The doctor may also not attend to the patient if he is not in the right state of health himself or when he knows he is not competent enough to help the patient.
However a doctor should be able to take good care of the patient even if he is not able to offer any reasonable help to the patient. He should be able to assist the patient to access another health center where he can be helped. If a doctor fails to attend to emergency because of matters of inconvenience he will be charged and prosecuted.
Addicts just like anyone else have rights to emergency attention that is why we at AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Center are committed to availing help to patients by availing the needed information and offering them a place to call home. Just call on Dr. Dalal Akoury (MD) today and begin your journey to victory against addiction.