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Sociedad Española de Auxilio Mutuo y Beneficencia v. Morales

Close Date: 01/12/2009
Topic(s): Scope of Statutory Rights and Remedies
Status: closed
Docket: 08-169

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The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA), 42 U.S.C. § 1395dd(a), prohibits hospital emergency rooms from refusing treatment to a patient who “comes to” an emergency room, even if the patient lacks health insurance and cannot afford to pay for medical care. Carolina Morales was suffering severe pain and acute blood loss resulting from an ectopic pregnancy when an ambulance transporting Morales to the hospital requested emergency treatment for her and that the hospital turned the ambulance away because Morales lacked health insurance. The question presented is:

Whether EMTALA covers the hospital’s refusal to treat Morales even though the ambulance in which she was riding had not yet reached hospital property at the time she was turned away.

Greg Beck of Public Citizen was co-counsel for the respondent at the cert stage, and the Supreme Court denied cert.