A lawsuit currently pending before the US Supreme Court is re-examining the "Feres Doctrine," a provision that prohibits active military personnel from making medical malpractice claims. The doctrine specifically provides that service members cannot sue the government for injuries Incurred in the line of duty. This has been interpreted to include those service members harmed while receiving military medical treatment - even where the medical treatment is negligent. The issue most recently arose in a birth injury case. The mother, an Air Force Captain, went to an Army Hospital to deliver her child. Although she was allergic to zantac, she was given the drug. She suffered an allergic reaction, which caused her blood pressure to drop and deprived her baby of oxygen. The child suffered a brain injury as the result, and was born with severe disabilities, including cerebral palsy.
Here, the Feres Doctrine was applied to deny the mother's claim of harm against the doctor, hospital and other health care professionals. However, the decision has been appealed citing other cases where medical malpractice claims have been allowed where negligence has caused a birth injury.
In general when a doctor, nurse, or other health care professional fails to act with the requisite standard of care, and their negligence harms a patient, the injured party may sue for damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit. The same standard should apply to military personnel as well as civilians.
For more information or if you believe that you may have suffered a harm due to medical malpractice, please contact the experienced Los Angeles medical malpractice lawyers at Bostwick & Peterson, LLP for an immediate confidential consultation.