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Medical malpractice and military members

When someone suffers because of the negligence of a doctor, nurse, surgeon or other medical professional, he or she has a right to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against those she believes are responsible. This is true for most people in the United States; however, it is not true for active duty military personnel.

In 2013, a Navy lieutenant died after she allegedly did not receive the proper postpartum care. In most cases, this would result in the family filing a wrongful death lawsuit. Since the lieutenant was on active duty, her family is not able to sue the doctors allegedly responsible.

The rule is known as the Feres doctrine, and it prevents such lawsuits. The woman died at a military hospital, but the people allegedly responsible for the woman's death cannot be held liable.

Another man, a veteran who was awarded the Bronze Star, has filed a lawsuit against the Veterans Administration. He alleges that an intern gave him his traumatic brain injury exam. He believes his medical issues are tied to a head injury he received while on deployment. These types of injuries are very difficult to diagnose, so the man was sent to another doctor — or so he thought.

The intern who examined the vet said that he was not physically injured after his own doctor said the man has symptoms that were consistent with a TBI. According to VA policy, there are only four types of specialists that can perform these specialized exams.

The man is suing the VA system for malpractice and negligence. This man is allowed to sue because he is no longer in the military.

If you are injured, or a loved one is lost due to malpractice, an experienced lawyer can provide more legal options.

Source: NewsBlaze, "Military Medical Malpractice: How Our Servicemen Are Betrayed," Melissa Thompson, Aug. 12, 2016

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