Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 19,800+ case briefs...

Burditt v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
934 F.2d 1362 (1991)


Rosa Rivera was pregnant and went to the emergency room at DeTar Hospital (DeTar) with labor pains and hypertension, or very high blood pressure. Rivera had not had any prenatal care and could not pay. Dr. Michael Burditt (defendant) was next on the hospital’s list of doctors for obstetric patients without a regular doctor, but he refused to see Rivera. Instead, Burditt ordered Rivera to be transferred to a hospital 170 miles away. After being pressured by DeTar personnel, Burditt ordered a medicine for Rivera’s blood pressure and examined Rivera. At that point, Rivera had the highest blood pressure Burditt had ever seen. Burditt knew that Rivera’s blood pressure could cause complications that could kill her or her baby. However, Burditt still insisted on transferring Rivera and did not order any life-saving equipment to go in the ambulance with her. About 40 miles into the transfer, a nurse delivered Rivera’s baby and diverted the ambulance for necessary medicine. Burditt still insisted that the transfer continue. However, at Rivera’s request, the ambulance returned to DeTar. Burditt continued to refuse to treat Rivera and gave orders to discharge her if she was stable. Instead, a new doctor was assigned to Rivera. Rivera was discharged three days later in good condition. The United States Department of Health and Human Services (plaintiff) fined Burditt $20,000 for violating the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA). Burditt appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Reavley, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 510,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 510,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 19,800 briefs, keyed to 985 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial