Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Gov't Looks to save Money by Denying Compensation to Military Dependents for Medical Malpractice

This is just wrong.  The Supreme Court's 1950 Feres decision has prevented active-duty troops from suing for injuries due to malpractice in military medical facilities, but now, as reported in the Army Times, "government lawyers in Florida are seeking to expand that restriction to include the spouses and children of service members." Jimmy German, an active-duty Navy mechanic, sued when the Jacksonville Naval Hospital failed to diagnose his wife's soon-to-be fatal cerebral hemorrhage, but the government is seeking dismissal, saying under the Feres doctrine, whether or not Navy doctors committed medical errors, "troops should not be allowed to sue for negligent care provided to their dependents." Although the government has settled many cases involving injured military family members, this new interpretation, according to George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley "is a very clear effort to establish the rule that children and spouses are equally barred from tort recovery from negligence."  It's one thing to bar troops from suing for things arising out of their active duty service, but why should a similar restriction be placed on their spouses and children?

No comments: