New measure would allow troops to sue for military malpractice mistakes
By: Leo Shane III
April 30, 2019
The new legislation — named for Sgt. 1st Class Richard Stayskal, a Green Beret fighting stage four lung cancer because of Army doctors errors — would allow malpractice lawsuits against the military by creating an exemption to the Feres Doctrine, a 69-year-old legal precedent barring that legal action.
The view from the judge’s bench in the courtroom at Fort Meade, Md., on Jan. 4, 2019. (EJ Hersom/Defense Department)
After hearing tearful testimony from the victims of military medical negligence, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers announced new legislation to do away with the legal rules protecting the Defense Department from medical malpractice lawsuits.
“When doctors fail to perform or woefully misread tests, when nurses botch routine procedures, when clinicians ignore and disregard pain, service members deserve their day in court,” said Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., and the chairwoman of the House Armed Services Committee’s personnel panel.
“We’re not talking about special treatment. We’re talking about giving service members the same rights as their spouses, federal workers, and even prisoners. When compensation schemes are insufficient, service members should have their claims heard in the justice system.”
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