E. GRADY JOLLY, Circuit Judge:
In this case, several plaintiffs brought suit under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1395dd, alleging that a hospital failed to stabilize an individual's emergency medical condition before discharging her. The hospital presented sufficient summary judgment evidence that it had stabilized the individual's medical condition. The plaintiffs, however, chose not to offer any evidence contradicting the hospital's contention that it had fulfilled its obligations under the statute. The district court granted the hospital's motion for summary judgment, and we now affirm.
On April 6, 1990, at approximately 4:00 p.m., Christeen Robertson went to the Touro Infirmary ("Touro") emergency room complaining of swelling in her extremities, pain in her right shoulder, dizziness, headaches, and numbness in her right hand. The emergency room staff took her vital signs. All were within normal limits except for her blood pressure, which was slightly elevated. The emergency room staff also took her medical history and learned that Robertson had spent the last three days at Charity Hospital in New Orleans. Robertson had left Charity Hospital without waiting for her test results. Touro's staff contacted Charity Hospital and obtained Robertson's test results.
In the emergency room, both Dr. Harry Hersey and Dr. Edward Dees examined Robertson. Ultimately, Dr. Jairo Barona was her treating physician. Touro's medical records indicate that Dr. Barona concluded that Robertson was "having acute nephrotic syndrome and needs to be admitted." Dr. Barona told Robertson "to go to the Charity Hospital due to her insurance status for evaluation and admission." Touro's medical staff treated Robertson in the emergency room and followed her condition for approximately seven hours. The hospital discharged Robertson at about 11 p.m. At that time, Robertson's vital signs were stable, she was not in acute distress, and she was ambulatory. Touro's staff instructed her to go to Charity Hospital as soon as possible. Later Robertson died. She was survived by her children Joyce Smith Green, Michael Smith, Eric Robertson, Felita Robertson and her husband Charles Robertson, Jr.
Robertson's surviving spouse and children brought this suit against Touro for an alleged violation of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1395dd ("EMTALA"). Touro moved for summary judgment arguing that there was no evidence supporting the plaintiffs' allegation that Touro violated EMTALA. Touro argued that it had not violated the act because when it discharged Robertson her vital signs were normal, she was ambulatory, and she was in a stable condition. In support of its motion for summary judgment, Touro submitted its medical records and affidavits from Dr. Barona and Dr. Dees. Both Dr. Barona and Dr. Dees agreed that Touro's staff had stabilized Robertson and that her condition was not life threatening when Touro discharged her.
Although this case has been pending since 1990, the plaintiffs have undertaken virtually no discovery and they have not produced a medical expert. The plaintiffs did not submit any competent evidence to rebut Touro's contention that it had complied with the statute. The only evidence the plaintiffs presented was a letter from Dr. Lawrence Levy.
On appeal from a district court's summary judgment, we review the record de novo to ascertain whether any genuine issues exist as to any material fact. If the record is devoid of a genuine issue of material fact, we review the evidence to determine whether the moving party was entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); FDIC v. Myers, 955 F.2d 348, 349 (5th Cir. 1992). Once a motion for summary judgment has been made and adequately supported, the non-movant cannot rest on the
The plaintiffs contend that they have a cause of action against Touro under EMTALA because 1) Touro failed to perform appropriate tests to determine whether Robertson's renal failure presented an emergency condition, 2) Touro failed to stabilize Robertson's renal condition before discharging her, and 3) Touro failed to transfer Robertson to another medical facility. The plaintiffs' arguments fail. As we explain below, the only evidence in the record leads to the inescapable inference that Touro's staff had stabilized Robertson's condition before discharging her. EMTALA requires only that a hospital stabilize an individual's emergency medical condition; it does not require a hospital to cure the condition.
EMTALA strictly sets out a hospital's responsibilities toward individuals who enter their emergency rooms requesting care. The statute provides that when such a person requests medical attention, the hospital must first screen the individual "to determine whether an emergency medical condition (within the meaning of subsection (e)(1) of this section) exists." 42 U.S.C. § 1395dd(a).
42 U.S.C. § 1395dd(b)(1) (emphasis added).
The district court found that Touro met its obligations under the statute when it stabilized Robertson's condition. The district court based this conclusion on Touro's medical records and the affidavits from Dr. Dees and Dr. Barona. Dr. Dees states in his affidavit that he "treated and followed Christeen Robertson for approximately four hours prior to her discharge and that she was stable and able to be discharged home at approximately 23:00." Dr. Dees goes on to say that Robertson was "ambulatory[,] with no acute distress[,] and with stable vital signs." Dr. Barona states that he "was aware of her [Robertson's] condition[,] which was not life threatening[,] and of her need for further evaluation and treatment of nephritis and hypertension," and that "he recommended follow-up treatment at Charity Hospital New Orleans." This evidence leads to the inescapable inference that Robertson was in a stable condition when Touro discharged her and, thus, Touro adequately supported its motion for summary judgment. Since the plaintiffs failed to present any evidence to contradict Touro's evidence, it was appropriate
For all of the foregoing reasons, the decision of the district court is AFFIRMED.
42 U.S.C. § 1395dd(e)(1).