Document Type



In recent years many private and some public hospitals have assumed a new proprietary persona, a business-like posture that clashes with the traditional hospital goals of charity and community service. This conflict may be most acute in the emergency room where the hospital may further its financial interests by quickly transferring or discharging undesirable emergency patients. This article explores the extent of a private hospital’s legal obligation to treat a patient once emergency care has begun. It begins by looking at hospital revolutions, emergency rooms, and the standards of emergency care. It then explores the common law and “no duty” rule, the open door policy, the duty to continue emergency care, and the standard of conduct.