From Texas Public Radio:
Franny Church, 77, of San Antonio woke up one morning to find she was bleeding profusely, the result of an unexplained rupture in her colon. Her husband put her in the car to drive her to a hospital. When he passed a closer emergency center, he stopped.
“She was rightfully scared,” said granddaughter Katy Shock.
“She’s still bleeding,” Shock explained. “And then the guy asks, ‘Well what kind of insurance do you have?’ and my grandfather was like ‘Well, we have Medicare.’ And they’re like, ‘Oh, we don’t accept Medicare.’ And without asking any more questions, they sent them away.”
Shock says the emergency department did not offer her grandmother any kind of preliminary care. “They didn’t triage her. They didn’t call an ambulance,” Shock added. “They needed help.”
That day, Church ended up at Methodist Hospital where she was admitted in critical condition, staying in the ICU for several days.
There are two big questions raised by Church’s experience: What should you expect when you go to an emergency center? And, in this case, were there laws the emergency center was required to follow?
“You’re not even allowed to talk about your type of insurance when a patient walks in the door,” explained Brad Shields, Executive Director of the Texas Association of Freestanding Emergency Centers.
He says laws require that anyone who comes through the door of any emergency medical facility with a critical health problem must be treated, or at least stabilized and transferred.