Midland (Texas) Memorial Hospital will pay $23,000 to settle "patient dumping" allegations stemming from an incident in which an on-call ophthalmologist instructed an ER physician to discharge a boy who had been hit in the eye with a baseball, HHS' inspector general's office said. The boy had been examined at the ER and had undergone X-rays, and the ophthalmologist said the boy could be treated the next day as an outpatient, a spokeswoman for the inspector general's office said. However, the boy's parents contacted a university medical center, where a neurologist and ophthalmologist concluded the boy had suffered a left orbital fracture and was hemorrhaging. The boy was admitted to the medical center and released four days later. Midland President and CEO Russell Meyers said the 386-bed hospital settled to avoid protracted litigation. "The challenge with complying with this law is that the hospital carries the burden of responsibility, regardless of whom we depend upon to carry out this compliance," Meyers said. -- by Mark Taylor
Texas hospital settles patient-dumping case
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