A federal suit filed today charges the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania with refusing a patient because he lacked health insurance, causing an extended delay in care and then significant damage to his brain.
At 7.27 p.m. on May 2, 2008, Marcus Murray, 56, developed chest pain while driving in New Jersey and went to the emergency room at Underwood Memorial Hospital in Gloucester County. After a CAT scan identified a “complex aortic dissection,” efforts were made to transfer Murray, a contractor from Felton, Delaware, to Penn.
Medical records at Underwood indicate that at 10:54 p.m., Penn said it would take Murray and began to arrange for a helicopter to transport him, according to the complaint. Then at 11:50 p.m., an Underwood nurse wrote that Y. Joseph Woo, a heart surgeon at Penn, called and said they would not take Murray “due to no medical insurance,” the suit alleges.
“We received [the complaint] late yesterday and are reviewing our records,” Penn Medicine’s chief of staff Susan Phillips said in a statement. “However, we believe the complaint to be without merit.”