Military Medical Malpractice Laws Questioned

The death of an Iraq war veteran whose skin cancer was misdiagnosed by military doctors has raised questions about a long-standing Supreme Court rule that bars soldiers from suing the federal government for medical malpractice. A Marine Sergeant died after doctors mistakenly treated his deadly melanoma as a wart. The family cannot file a medical malpractice suit because the man was on active duty and military hospitals and personnel are immune from malpractice claims because of what is known as the Feres Doctrine. The doctrine is named after the 1950 ruling that the wife of a man who died in a barracks fire had no right to sue the government for negligence. The Feres Doctrine even allows for institutional abuse. Proponents of the Doctrine say it protects officers from being threatened by lawsuits from lower-ranking personnel and it keeps doctors in the military. However, some Supreme Court justices believe that the case was wrongly decided and needs universal criticism. For unfortunate soldiers who have suffered from the Doctrine, it must come soon. To read the full story, click here.

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