EMTALA: Its Application to Newborn Infants

ABA Health eSource, Vol. 4, No. 7, 2008

5 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2008

See all articles by Thaddeus Mason Pope

Thaddeus Mason Pope

Mitchell Hamline School of Law; Queensland University of Technology - Australian Health Law Research Center; Saint Georges University; Alden March Bioethics Institute

Date Written: April 16, 2008


The application of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) to extremely premature newborn infants has long been a source of concern to pediatricians and neonatologists. Preston v. Meriter Hospital is the first case to directly address the special status of newborns. In Preston, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals effectively narrowed the application of EMTALA to newborn infants, holding that EMTALA categorically does not apply to any infant born to an inpatient mother.

But the operative facts in Preston predate the Born Alive Infant Protection Act (BAIPA). In light of BAIPA's alteration of key statutory terms, it is prudent to comply with EMTALA obligations for all newborn infants anywhere in the hospital unless or until a good faith decision is made to admit the infant after its birth.

Keywords: EMTALA, BAIPA, medical futility, Baby K

JEL Classification: K32

Suggested Citation

Pope, Thaddeus Mason, EMTALA: Its Application to Newborn Infants (April 16, 2008). ABA Health eSource, Vol. 4, No. 7, 2008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1121373

Thaddeus Mason Pope (Contact Author)

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Queensland University of Technology - Australian Health Law Research Center ( email )

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Saint Georges University ( email )

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