A public hospital supported by public tax funds which assumes the duty of furnishing emergency first-aid facilities to injured persons cannot arbitrarily refuse its facilities to a member of the public obviously in need of treatment.
The complaint alleged that the plaintiff presented himself for admission to the defendant public hospital with a broken arm and in a state of traumatic injury, suffering mental and physical pain visible and obvious to the hospital employees, and that the defendant refused to admit him as a patient and treat him for this injury. The plaintiff appeals from a judgment sustaining the defendant's motion to dismiss his complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
1. The motion to dismiss the appeal is denied.
2. The defendant hospital contends that it has the absolute right to refuse to give emergency treatment to any person. No hospital, public or private, is under a common-law duty to accept everyone who applies for admission; nor is there a duty to maintain an emergency ward. However, this is not the same as the duty owed by a public hospital supported by public tax funds which does maintain emergency facilities for the benefit of the general public. The maintenance of such emergency facilities by a public hospital to render first aid to injured persons has become a well-established adjunct to the main business of a hospital. Treatment is performed by the hospital staff and the patient is billed by the hospital rather than a physician. To say that a public institution which has assumed this duty and held itself out as giving aid can arbitrarily refuse to give emergency treatment to a member of the public who presents himself with "a broken arm and in a state of traumatic injury, suffering mental and physical pain visible and obvious to the hospital employees" is repugnant to our entire system of government.
The trial court erred in dismissing the complaint.
Judgment reversed. Jordan, P. J., and Whitman, J., concur.