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Summers v. Baptist Medical Center Arkadelphia

 91 F.3d 1132 (1996)

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Summers v. Baptist Medical Center Arkadelphia

United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

 91 F.3d 1132 (1996)

Facts

On October 25, 1992, Harold Summers (plaintiff) fell out of a tree while hunting and saw an emergency room physician at Baptist Medical Center Arkadelphia (the hospital) (defendant). Summers told the physician that he had chest pain and heard a popping noise when breathing. The physician ordered X-rays of Summers’s spine but did not order chest X-rays. Upon examining Summers’s chest, the physician determined that he had not broken his sternum. The physician diagnosed Summers with muscle spasms and told him to see his regular doctor. Summers asked the physician to admit him to the hospital and informed the physician that he had health insurance and cash to pay for treatment. The physician denied Summers’s request on the ground that it was not medically necessary to admit him. The next day, Summers was in too much pain to visit his regular doctor. On October 27, Summers’s pain was so severe that he was brought to a different medical center by ambulance. Summers was admitted into the intensive care unit with a broken sternum and a broken rib. Summers then filed an action against the hospital in federal district court, alleging a violation of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA). Summers argued that the hospital’s physician failed to provide him with an appropriate medical screening. The physician testified that he did not request a chest X-ray because he determined that Summers was not having difficulty breathing and was unaware that the sounds Summers had described were coming from Summers’s chest. The hospital moved to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim. The district court granted the motion. Summers appealed. A panel of judges from the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit reversed. The hospital then requested an en banc hearing. The circuit court granted the request.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Arnold, C.J.)

Dissent (Heaney, J.)

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