San Antonio State Hospital will pay $15,000 to settle allegations that one of its emergency room physicians inappropriately transferred a suicidal patient, violating the 1986 Emergency Medical Transfer and Active Labor Act, or EMTALA. Although the physician was the primary responsible party, the 377-bed, state-owned hospital also is liable under EMTALA, according to HHS' inspector general's office. The patient arrived at the hospital's ER complaining of a urinary tract infection. She said she was depressed and had earlier that day tried to slash her wrists with a kitchen knife. The attending physician allegedly sent her unaccompanied in a taxi to 339-bed University Health System, San Antonio, without stabilizing the woman's condition or verifying that University would accept the transfer. The inspector general's office said the hospital implemented a corrective action plan and assisted in its ongoing investigation of the physician. Hospital officials could not be reached for comment at deadline. -- by Mark Taylor
Texas hospital settles EMTALA violation
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