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HUTCHINSON v. GREATER SOUTHEAST COMMUNITY HOSP.

May 28, 1992

JOYCE A. HUTCHINSON, Plaintiff,
v.
GREATER SOUTHEAST COMMUNITY HOSPITAL, et al. Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: CHARLES R. RICHEY

 Pursuant to Rule 16 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Court held a status conference and motions hearing in the above-captioned action on May 26, 1992. The defendants initially filed Motions to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment. On April 24, 1992, the Court denied the Motion to Dismiss, allowed plaintiff the opportunity to conduct further discovery relevant to the Motions for Summary Judgment, and set a schedule for the submission of supplemental memoranda. See Order filed April 27, 1992. Discovery has now been completed, and the Court has received the parties' supplemental filings. Upon careful consideration of the submissions of the parties, the arguments of counsel, the applicable law, and the entire record herein, the Court concludes that the defendants' Motions for Summary Judgment must be granted.

 I. Background

 Plaintiff alleges that on September 28, 1990, at about 4:22 a.m., the decedent Willie Joe Hunter was transported by ambulance to Greater Southeast Community Hospital in Washington, D.C.. He complained of pains to the back of his head, foam in his mouth, weakness and headaches. He was examined by Dr. Kenneth Larsen, a board-certified specialist in emergency medicine and chair of the GSCH Emergency Department, who assessed his condition as "non-emergent". The decedent was then placed in a taxicab to be transferred to the District of Columbia General Hospital. At approximately 8:30 a.m., on September 28, 1990, District of Columbia Metropolitan Police officers picked up the decedent half-clothed, aimlessly wandering the streets, unable to speak comprehensibly and staggering into traffic. He was admitted at District of Columbia General Hospital, where a CT scan showed subarachnoidal hemorrhage. On October 2, 1990 Mr. Hunter died of a subarachnoidal hemorrhage.

 The plaintiff brings this action individually and as personal representative of the estate of Willie Joe Hunter, her deceased husband. She sues defendants Greater Southeast Community Hospital ("GSCH"), the GSCH Corporation, and the Southeast Emergency Physicians Group, P.C., for violating the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1395dd (the "Emergency Act") and for medical negligence under survivorship and wrongful death theories. There is no diversity jurisdiction in this case, so the sole basis for federal jurisdiction is the Emergency Act.

 The defendants contend that there was no violation of the Federal Emergency Act; therefore the federal count must be dismissed on the merits and the pendent claims must be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

 II. Analysis

 Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires that the Court grant a motion for summary judgment if the pleadings and supporting affidavits and other submissions "show that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." "The mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the [nonmovant's] position will be insufficient; there must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the plaintiff." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252 (1986). However, it is well established that the Court must believe the non-movant's evidence and draw all justifiable inferences in her favor. Id. at 255.

 The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act provides in relevant part that

 42 U.S.C. § 1395dd(a).

 The D.C. Circuit has clarified the meaning of "appropriate medical screening":

 The Act is intended not to ensure each emergency room patient a correct diagnosis, but rather to ensure that each is accorded the same level of treatment regularly provided to patients in similar medical circumstances. Thus, what constitutes an "appropriate" screening is properly determined not by reference to particular ...


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