It's every patient's nightmare. You're sick, you go to the hospital, and they refuse to treat you. Can they do that? The answer, unfortunately, is yes. While hospitals are required by law to provide a certain standard of care to all patients, there are circumstances under which they can legally deny service.
When Service is Usually Denied
One example is if a hospital is at capacity and cannot safely admit more patients. In this case, the hospital may "divert" patients to other facilities with more room. However, hospitals can only divert patients in accordance with state and federal laws, which vary from place to place.
Another example is if a patient is deemed "medically unstable." This could be because they are intoxicated, have a communicable disease, or are experiencing a mental health crisis. In these cases, the hospital may still provide care—but only if they have the proper staff and resources available to do so safely.
There are some situations in which a patient may simply be too expensive to treat. For example, if a patient needs an organ transplant or other lifesaving procedure that the hospital cannot afford, the hospital may refuse service. A transfer can also happen if the hospital does not take their insurance. This happens more often than you might think—and it's one of the most controversial aspects of our healthcare system.
You May Have Options
No one wants to believe that a hospital could ever refuse to treat them—but unfortunately, it does happen. If you find yourself in this situation, it's important to know your rights and options so that you can get the care you need.
Remember: just because a hospital denies you service doesn't mean you don't have any recourse. You may still be able to receive treatment elsewhere—or even receive compensation for your damages. If you have any questions about your legal options, please contact us for a free consultation. We're here to help.