for "patients who present with chest pain was followed in this instance." Id. at 943 (emphasis added). Here, the defendant has asserted that it treats all similarly situated patients uniformly, and that Naquan did not receive disparate treatment. Plaintiffs describe that assertion as self-serving, but they fail to refute it.
Finally, plaintiffs argue that if I accept defendants' contention that all EMTALA requires is uniform treatment, then hospitals could avoid all liability under the statute by the simple expedient of implementing uniform, cursory and substandard screening procedures. This argument does not concern me. Compliance with EMTALA is not a defense to a malpractice claim, and I expect that even if a hospital were sufficiently venal that it would consider endangering its emergency room patients in this way, it would not likely risk exposure to state law malpractice claims by implementing shoddy across-the-board screening examinations. Moreover, the statute requires "appropriate" screening examinations, and even if that term is not interpreted to apply ordinary standards of care, it could well, in an appropriate case, be held to proscribe even uniform screening examinations that are so substandard as to amount to no screening at all. See Baber, 977 F.2d at 879 n.7.
Based on the absence of any evidence of disparate treatment, summary judgment is appropriate on the screening question. When no rational jury could find in favor of the nonmoving party because the evidence is so slight, there is no genuine issue of material fact and a grant of summary judgment is proper. See also Holcomb v. Monahan, 30 F.3d 116, 117 (11th Cir. 1994) (summary judgment for defendants on screening issue where no evidence suggested that hospital treated patient differently from other patients); Gatewood, 933 F.2d at 1041 (summary judgment for defendants on screening issue where plaintiff conceded that patient received a screening examination and did not allege that it differed in any respect from that generally employed by hospital). Accordingly, defendants' motion for summary judgment is granted with respect to the plaintiffs' claim of inadequate screening.
2. The Stabilization Requirement
Plaintiffs also apparently claim that the hospital and Dr. Galloway violated the "stabilization" requirement in EMTALA. I find that this claim, which has received only scant attention in the parties' memoranda, is insufficient as a matter of law.
The undisputed facts reveal that Dr. Galloway's initial pediatric examination at 1:15 a.m. was followed by a re-evaluation at 2:20 a.m. The latter examination revealed to Dr. Galloway that Naquan was in stable condition, and that his temperature had fallen to 102 [degrees]. In those circumstances, no rational juror could find a failure "to stabilize" Naquan, as that term is defined in U.S.C. § 1395dd(e)(3). Having screened, treated and apparently stabilized Naquan before discharging him, the defendants cannot be found to have violated the EMTALA statute.
E. The Malpractice Claim
Having dismissed the only federal claims, I have discretion to dismiss the supplemental malpractice claim as well. See 28 U.S.C. § 1367 (c)(3); United States Workers v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715, 16 L. Ed. 2d 218, 86 S. Ct. 1130 (1966). However, these claims are not required to be dismissed, see, e.g., Palmer v. Hospital Authority of Randolph County, 22 F.3d 1559, 1567-68 (11th Cir. 1994), and there are good reasons not to do so here. First, this action was filed in 1994. The inevitable delay in the resolution of the remaining dispute that would follow a remand to state court would be especially inappropriate here, where an infant plaintiff continues to suffer from the alleged malpractice. Second, both sides want the case, in which discovery is now complete, to remain in this federal court.
Accordingly, I will retain supplemental jurisdiction over the state law malpractice claims. A trial date will be set at a status conference that will be held on January 23, 1998, at 11:30 a.m.
JOHN GLEESON, U.S.D.J.
Dated: Brooklyn, New York
January 8, 1998