Bonus - Pediatric Pearls - Pediatric Transport

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Michael Frank, MD JD -

Question was asked whether the helicopter crew would violate EMTALA if they refused the requested transport. The answer given was that under EMTALA, the sending physician has the prerogative of determining the transport method. While this may be true, it is not responsive to the question. The sending physician determines the method of transport, and the receiving hospital is, with certain exceptions, obliged to accept a legitimate transfer, but EMTALA does not require the receiving hospital to provide the transport demanded by the sending physician, and the helicopter crew or service has no obligation under EMTALA to comply with the requested transport. The question originated from the situation where it is clear to the helicopter crew that the clinical condition of the patient doesn't really require transfer at all. Under those circumstances, it would not violate EMTALA for the helicopter crew to refuse the transport, and the same would apply even if it was a ground ambulance crew.

Chuck S. -

My bad you are correct in that my answer was not responsive. Actually I think the question was also addressing the issue of does this transfer require Air vs ground (with huge differences in cost) that is another difficult issue but again is not impacted by EMTALA. It would not violate if the Air crew said could go by ground whether or not they accompanied the ground crew. Malpractice claims if bad outcome are different however.

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