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Eleventh Circuit rules that Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act is not a federal malpractice statute creating tort or malpractice remedies

On January 22, 2021, in Smith v. Crisp Regional Hospital, Inc. et al, No. 19-12225, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court ruling that that the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, 42 U.S. Code § 1395dd, was not intended to create tort or malpractice remedies and that the plaintiff’s lawsuit attempting to assert a cause of action against the defendant hospital based on an alleged violation of the Act was subject to dismissal under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). The Court pointed out that the Act was intended to prevent “patient dumping,” the practice of some hospitals turning away or transferring indigent patients without evaluation or treatment and was not intended to be a federal malpractice statute.  The Court cited to its previous en banc decision in Harry v. Marchant, 291 F.3d 767, 768 (11th Cir. 2002), in which the Court analyzed the language of the Act.

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