For many years, active members of the military have been unable to sue in court for injuries “incident to service.” This is due to a board interpretation of a 1950 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court Feres v. United States. The Feres Doctrine precluded active-duty military personnel from filing suits alleging medical malpractice, sexual harassment, and other negligent behavior by the federal government.
An analysis of five years of data from every military hospital worldwide found that surgeons in every branch of the military perform complex, high-risk operations on active duty personnel, their family members, and some retirees. However, those high-risk operations are performed in such small numbers. That puts these patients at a much higher risk of malpractice.
Surgical readiness is fraying fast, leaving the military unprepared to care for severe battlefield injuries. The military has a severe shortage of skilled surgeons, especially trauma surgeons, on active duty and in the reserves. Army field hospitals are currently: “not staffed with appropriate specialty capabilities for a combat theater.” Many of the surgeons on active duty operate so infrequently that they can’t sustain their proficiency.
However, the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, recently signed into law, includes a provision allowing service members to file claims against the Defense Department in cases of medical negligence or malpractice. The amount of the award is determined by the average award in a federal court.
If you, or someone you love, is a service member on active duty who was injured or killed by the negligence of a military doctor or hospital, please call or e-mail Jeff. Jeff has over a decade of handling administrative compensation schemes, and he will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.