By a written opinion from the Honorable Judge Torruella, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston, SolerLaw obtained an important victory in a case that was dismissed by the Honorable Judge Fusté, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico. It is important to mention that said case was previously dismissed for other reasons, by the Honorable Judge Jaime Pieras (QEPD). The name of the case is Hazel Cruz v. Hospital Menonita. You can access the written opinion at http://media.ca1.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/getopn.pl?OPINION=11-2297P.01A.
The opinion of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston is of transcendental importance for victims of medical malpractice, for it reiterates that it is the hospital’s obligation to put into effect and execute their medical protocols in those cases where the patient is in active labor or has an emergency medical condition. The federal jurisprudence has been consistent in establishing that under the federal statute EMTALA (“Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act”), hospitals must uniformly apply its protocols to those patients with the same condition. If not, the hospital would be providing a disparate treatment.
In this case, Hazel, a woman on her third trimester of pregnancy, arrived to the emergency room of the Menonita Hospital because she had a vaginal bleeding. Even though, Dr. Brenda Torres examine her and confirmed the vaginal bleeding, she did not put into effect the hospital’s “bleeding of pregnant women in their third trimester” medical protocol. Hazel’s obstetrician, Dr. Edward Gómez, was called, but he evaluated her the next day in his office instead of that night. It was too late, Hazel, who was in labor, had dilated too much and had to give birth to her premature baby, whose lungs where not completely developed, causing her death days later.