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Military Family Seeks Changes to Feres Doctrine

A medical malpractice/birth injury case currently pending review by the U.S. Supreme Court involves a doctrine that many believe unfairly discriminates against military personnel and deprives them of certain rights. The Feres Doctrine - an 60+ year old doctrine - bars military personnel from bringing claims against the government for injuries that are "incidental" to military service. While the doctrine originally was designed to protect the government from lawsuits from troops injured while in combat, it has evolved to prohibiting families from bringing claims for birth injuries and medical malpractice - even where evidence of negligence is clear.

The case pending before the Supreme Court - Ortiz v. The United States - concerns a birth injury suffered by an infant during delivery. Her mother, an Air Force captain, was admitted to an army hospital for delivery. While there, she was given medication for a known allergy. As the result of this prescription error, the mother required benadryl which caused her blood pressure to drop. The child suffered brain and nerve damage as a result. In a birth injury lawsuit, the husband challenged the over breadth and unfairness of the Feres Doctrine.

Whether the Supreme Court will accept this case for review has not yet been reported.

For more information, or if you or a loved one has suffered any type of medical malpractice, please contact the knowledgeable Los Angeles medical malpractice lawyers at Bostwick & Peterson, LLP for an immediate consultation.



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