The advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) working in the emergency department (ED) is asked to see a patient with an "eye infection." The patient has a severe retrobulbar orbital abscess requiring complex multidisciplinary specialty management and is ultimately transferred to a tertiary care center. The patient had first presented to a community ED per the recommendation of her ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist. The patient was advised to leave the first ED during triage and to go to a second community ED. Although the referring physician was made aware of the recommendation to have the patient drive to another facility, the APRN questions whether this is a case of an Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) violation. This article defines EMTALA and evaluates the case.
- EMTALA violation
- Emergency medical condition
- Medical screening examination
- Patient transfer