Downtown-Metro Hospital


Answer the question below based upon the hypothetical given below.

It’s was busy Friday night in Downtown-Metro Hospital (DMH) emergency room.  Some of the things that happened that night are as follows.

Patient Joe Squeaker presented to the emergency room experiencing severe flank pain which he believes, based on prior experiences, to be severe kidney stones.  At the admissions desk, however, they realize that Joe had failed to pay his last few health insurance premiums and his policy has been suspended.  The admissions clerk informs Joe that they can’t take him without insurance.  Rather than leaving him hanging, however, she directs him to City General Hospital which, as a county hospital, will likely take him regardless of his ability to pay.  She writes down the address of City General and Joe hobbles out of the Emergency Room to go there.

Meanwhile, nurse Ratchet is having a rough night, working despite the fact that she has a recurring urinary tract infection.  When Dr. Pierce asks her what is wrong, she tells him of her ailment.  Being of a sympathetic sort, Dr. Pierce tells Nurse Ratchet that he can just prescribe antibiotics for her and she can avoid having to go through any of the steps and cost of having to formally get them as a patient.  He hands her the prescription and that was the end of it, no billing, no records, no hassle.

In Bay 2, Dr. McCoy is treating a patient, John Babble, for a minor cut on his hand.  She is a careful doctor, but likes to chat while she works.  While she is stitching him up, she tells him that  a well known local millionaire is sitting in Bay 5, being treated for chest pain.  She says she can’t tell Mr. Babble the name of the patient, but that she can say he lives in the big mansion on the corner of First and Bay Street.  Mr. Babble gives a knowing nod and a smile and says he hopes that that the mystery patient is okay.

Finally, towards the end of the late night shift, a mother brings in her child with a dislocated shoulder.  Upon examination, Nurse Ratchet notices some suspicious bruising on the child’s arm.  When the nurse asks the mother what happened, the mother answers with a vague story about him swinging on the stairs banister.  When pressed for details, the mother makes clear that she does not want to be interrogated, and escorts her child out of the E.R., saying they will just go to City General where the staff is not so rude.  She points out that her son was not treated at DMH and she does not want a record of them even visiting at this terrible facility.  Still feeling poorly, and extremely tired, Nurse Ratchet closes the patient file and mutters “It’s City General’s problem now…”

Are there concerns of legal violations in any of these scenarios?  What would those concerns be?  A few sentences explaining each concern and the applicable laws will suffice.


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