An Arlington soldier is dealing with the repercussions of a medical error in difficult way. The 21 year old airman lost his legs after a botched gallbladder surgery at a military hospital, according to the Star-Telegram. The victim had agreed to have laparoscopic gallbladder surgery after enduring stomach problems. During the procedure, an instrument being threaded through his stomach nicked his aorta artery, cutting off the flow to his legs. He was then transferred to another medical hospital, where both of his legs were amputated. His lawyer believes that this constituted gross violations of the US medical act. To read more about this specific medical malpractice case, please click the link.
Currently, however, the medical malpractice victim is in a battle with the U.S. court system. According to a 1950 Supreme Court decision, military personnel or their families are not allowed to collect damages from military doctors for medical negligence. This is known as Feres Doctrine. Not only will the medical malpractice victim not be able to recover for medical damages, his wife will be unable to file for loss of consortium. Currently, a Congressman is introducing legislation in order to change that policy.
The “Feres Doctrine” only applies to those active men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces who suffer injury at the negligent hands of other members of the Armed Forces. Since military personnel staff military hospitals, this keeps those victims of medical negligence from being able to file suit in federal court. This doctrine greatly hinders the rights of military medical personnel. The Chicago medical malpractice attorneys of Levin & Perconti support recent efforts to invoke legislation that will override this doctrine.