Thursday, June 19, 2008

Legislator pushing bill to overturn Feres Doctrine

Law prevents troops’ malpractice lawsuits
Legislator pushing bill to overturn Feres Doctrine
By Leo Shane III, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Friday, June 20, 2007
WASHINGTON — Military doctors identified potentially cancerous tumors on Sgt. Carmelo Rodriguez’s back in 1997, and again noted it during numerous physicals over the next eight years. But they never told him about it.

He died of skin cancer in January 2007.

His family said if Rodriguez received that kind of treatment from a civilian doctor, they’d have already won a civil suit against the hospital and forced the physicians out of practice.

"This was negligence," said his sister, Yvette Rodriguez. "It was clear malpractice, and his death could have been prevented."

But, under federal law, they can’t sue the Marine Corps or doctors involved. A Supreme Court decision known as the Feres Doctrine blocks any servicemember from suing for damages related to injuries, mistakes or negligence that occurs while they’re on active duty.

Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., wants to change that. Last month, he introduced new legislation that would permit medical malpractice claims against the military, specifically citing Rodriguez’s case.
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Use some common sense here. If Feres Doctrine had been overturned do you think that the government would have been doing what they have been doing when it comes to Walter Reed? When it comes to misdiagnosing wounded veterans? When it comes to turning away suicidal veterans turning to them for help? Would there be deaths because of mistakes or would they have set up ways to make sure the troops/veterans were getting the best possible care all the time instead of most of the time? If they are getting the best care possible than letting them be able to sue will do the government no harm since they pay their lawyers anyway. If not, then the men and women who serve this nation will end up getting the best care possible.

1 comment:

  1. The feres doctrine needs to be overturned completely. My son Michael Fremer was killed at Fort Polk, La on 2/13/08 after Training was completed. The Army has admitted his death was due to Army Negligence. But the Army is exempt from Liability due to the Feres doctrine. I have been in contact with others parents of soldiers who have sad similar stories. It seems the Army does not care and views the soldiers as expendable. The Army needs to be held Accountable for Negligence. Please overturn the Feres Doctrine!


    Ed Fremer


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