Showing posts with label Feres Doctrine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Feres Doctrine. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Medical malpractice left her paralyzed, and without justice because she was a soldier!

Unable to sue the Army for medical malpractice, this retired soldier is now fighting the VA for benefits

Military Times
By: Meghann Myers
August 26, 2019
For now, the hope is that a bill in Congress will allow Ospina, a mother of a young son, and veterans like her to seek compensation for alleged medical mistakes that they claim have altered their lives forever.
Retired Sgt. 1st Class Barbara Ospina Fitzsimmons said she was partially paralyzed after a spinal surgery in 2014. (Courtesy Barbara Ospina Fitzsimmons)
Retired Sgt. 1st Class Barbara Ospina is partially paralyzed, in debilitating pain and confined to a wheelchair for almost all of her day. Her condition is the result of malpractice at the hands of hands of military medicine, according to claims she made to the Department of Veterans Affairs, but she is paying out of pocket for a caregiver to help her bathe, dress and prepare meals, because the VA has denied her request for caregiver assistance.

What began as a treatable birth defect turned into a dislocated neck and a stroke that went undetected for days, according to records provided to Military Times. Had that initial surgery taken place at a civilian hospital, Ospina, 29, would be able to seek damages. But the Feres Doctrine, a 1950 Supreme Court decision, prevents her from suing the Defense Department for service-connected illness or injury.

“Her story represents the egregious conduct, consistent lack of care and malpractice at the hands of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base,” her attorney, Natalie Khawam of the Tampa, Florida- and D.C.-based Whistleblower Law Firm, told Military Times on Tuesday.
read it here


Friday, August 23, 2019

Soldier's baby boy burned during operation at Madigan Army Medical Center

$12M payout may be appealed after botched surgery and burning of soldier’s child at Army hospital

Army Times
By: Kyle Rempfer
August 22, 2019

“They don’t face any penalties for filing a frivolous appeal and having months pass where this child can’t get the money for the very specialized care he needs,” Zanowski said.
The boy was undergoing surgery to remove a benign cyst when the medical team's lack of communication led to the use of an electrocautery device in conjunction with high oxygen levels, igniting a fire, court documents show. (Evergreen Personal Injury Counseling)
The federal government may appeal a $12.3 million verdict they were ordered to pay to the family of a young boy whose face was severely burned four years ago in a botched surgery at Madigan Army Medical Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.

The government filed a “protective notice of appeal” in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday, taking issue with the large payout.

The appeal means that the money expected to be awarded to the family for medical costs will be withheld for the time being, said Gemma Zanowski, an attorney at Evergreen Personal Injury Counsel who represents the family of the child.

The boy, identified in court documents as BJP, is the son of an active-duty soldier. In 2015, the boy spent 22 days in an intensive care and burn unit after the botched surgery ignited a fireball that left second- and third-degree burns across his face and neck, according to court records.

BJP must still undergo treatment for the burns, including a reconstructive procedure that would insert a balloon under the skin in order to stretch it slowly over a period of months.
read it here

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Supreme Court denies justice, lets military malpractice stand....

Supreme Court rejects bid to overturn prohibition on military malpractice cases

Military Times By: Leo Shane III May 20, 2019
Thomas wrote that by refusing to re-examine the issue, the Supreme Court has allowed the Feres doctrine to be twisted and strengthened over the years. He also lamented that Congress could find ways to address the issue “but it did not.”
The Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. is shown in January 2019. On Monday, the court opted not to hear a case which challenged the legal precedent barring individuals from suing the military for medical malpractice. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP
The Supreme Court again on Monday opted not to hear a challenge to the legal precedent barring individuals from suing the military for medical malpractice, a decision blasted by Justice Clarence Thomas as short-sighted and unfair.

“Unfortunate repercussions — denial of relief to military personnel and distortions of other areas of law to compensate — will continue to ripple through our jurisprudence as long as the Court refuses to reconsider (this issue),” Thomas wrote in his dissent to the court’s decision not to take up the challenge.

The move once again shifts from the courts to Congress debate on how to fix problems surrounding the Feres Doctrine, a 1950 Supreme Court decision that blocks troops from claiming medical malpractice damages for actions related to their military service. At the time, the court found that military personnel injured by the negligence of another federal employee cannot sue under the Federal Tort Claims Act.
read more here

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Service members may finally get justice for medical malpractice

New measure would allow troops to sue for military malpractice mistakes

Military Times
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.”
read more here

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Supreme Court will take on Feres Doctrine suit!

Military Medical Malpractice Suit Stays Alive in US Supreme Court
By Patricia Kime
2 Apr 2019
The plaintiff, Walter Daniel, is a former Coast Guard officer whose wife, Rebekah "Moani" Daniel died during childbirth at Naval Hospital Bremerton, Washington, in March 2014. The lawsuit alleges that the doctors failed to provide prompt medical treatment when Daniel, a Navy lieutenant who worked as a nurse at the hospital, began bleeding excessively. She died four hours after giving birth.
A court case that challenges the authority of the Feres doctrine in cases of military medical malpractice was not among the 150-plus petitions rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday.
Walter Daniel and Rebekah "Moani" Daniel. (Courtesy Photo)
The Feres doctrine is the controversial 69-year-old court ruling that prohibits service members from suing the federal government for injuries deemed incidental to military service.

The case, Daniel v. United States, was to be distributed to the Supreme Court justices for conference on March 29, meaning they were set to discuss it Friday and to announce their decision to accept or deny it on Monday.

But when the order was released this morning, the court had accepted one new case and rejected hundreds of others. The Daniel case was not among the rejections.

A spokeswoman for Daniel's attorney said he awaits word as to whether the case is being rescheduled for conference.

Attorneys who favor reconsideration of the Feres doctrine say the delay offers hope that the "Supreme Court has taken an immediate interest in revisiting" the ruling.
read more here

Monday, November 16, 2015

Walter Reed Tries Healthcare Resolutions

Military doctors, patients come together after medical errors
Military Times
By Patricia Kime, Staff writer
November 15, 2015
Military family members are allowed to file medical malpractice suits against military treatment facilities, but active-duty troops are barred from doing so under the 1950 Supreme Court decision known as the Feres Doctrine.
A doctor removes bandages from a patient. The Defense Department is expanding a program that allows health care providers and patients discuss medical errors in order to do with feelings such as guilt and sorrow.
(Photo: Air Force)
The Defense Department is expanding a program that helps ease some of the sadness, anger, confusion and frustration felt by patients and military doctors after a medical error or poor treatment experience.

Underway at eight military medical centers with plans to expand to more, the Healthcare Resolutions program provides a way for doctors, patients and family members to talk — and even apologize — after a medical mistake, unexpected death or breakdown in physician-patient communications.

Developed in 2001 at what is now Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, the program facilitates discussions between doctors and patients or their family members, aiming to shed light on what went wrong and what's being done to ensure it doesn't happen again, said program developer Barbara Moidel.

“We have learned the value of transparency. We do not want to be defined or disabled by adverse medical events; we commit to learning from them by being transparent. We acknowledge, we apologize," Moidel said.
read more here

Friday, November 29, 2013

Unfair Feres Doctrine Bars Wrongful Death Suit for Soldier's Baby

Unfair Feres Doctrine Bars Wrongful Death Suit for Soldier's Baby
By Anne C. O'Donnell of FindLaw
November 8, 2013

"We can think of no other judicially-created doctrine which has been criticized so stridently, by so many jurists, for so long," wrote Judge Nguyen of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in the case, Ritchie v. United States.

The doctrine to which she is referring is known as the "Feres doctrine." Under this doctrine, the government is not liable for injuries to members of the military service arising out of, or in the course of, activity incident to service. It originates from a 1950 case, decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, which actually involved three different claims against the government:
-The wrongful death of an active service member who died in a fire in barracks allegedly known or which should have been known to be unsafe;

-A medical negligence claim alleging that an army surgeon left a towel 30 inches long by 18 inches wide in a soldier who underwent an abdominal operation; and

-The wrongful death of an active service member who died due to negligent medical treatment by army surgeons

The Federal Tort Claims Act waives the federal government's sovereign immunity, allowing it to be sued just as a private individual would be. The Feres court carved out a judicial exception to this rule, by holding that "the Government is not liable under the Federal Tort Claims Act for injuries to servicemen where the injuries arise out of or are in the course of activity incident to service."

This principle was extended to include claims brought by third parties, which derive directly or indirectly from injuries to service members incident to military duty.

The Feres court and its progeny assert three policy rationales for this rule: (1) the government should not be subject to liability based on the fortuity of the situs of the injury; (2) there are alternative compensation systems available; and (3) the fear of damaging the military disciplinary structure.
read more here

Monday, April 2, 2012

Former Airman Sues US After Losing Legs to Botched Surgery

Former Airman Sues US After Losing Legs to Botched Surgery

April 02, 2012
Fort Worth Star-Telegram|by Chris Vaughn

FORT WORTH -- Retired Airman Colton Read and his wife sued the U.S. government for millions of dollars in federal court Friday, asserting that military surgeons botched a routine gallbladder procedure so badly that civilian doctors had to amputate his legs to save his life.

The 25-page lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Fort Worth by attorney Darrell Keith, paints a graphic picture of what went terribly awry in the operating room and intensive-care unit at David Grant Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., on July 9, 2009.

Read was supposed to have his gallbladder removed before deploying overseas. Read, 23, an Arlington native, barely survived the laparoscopic surgery because one of the doctors lacerated his aorta at the beginning of the procedure. That set off a series of decisions that the lawsuit alleges were grossly negligent and delayed remedial action until Keith was transferred to a civilian hospital nine hours later. By then, his legs had been without blood flow for hours and had to be amputated. Read, medically retired by the Air Force just days ago, now lives in New Braunfels with his wife, Jessica, and their baby. read more here

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Navy Can't Be Sued Over Young Officer's Suicide?

Navy Can't Be Sued Over Young Officer's Suicide

CHICAGO (CN) - Family members of a hospital corpsman who committed suicide cannot seek damages from the Navy, the 7th Circuit ruled.

Christopher Lee Purcell enlisted in the Navy at age 18. Three years later, on Jan. 27, 2008, Purcell committed suicide.

Shortly before his death, the 21-year-old contacted his sister and several other people on MySpace. He wrote: "I don't want to die, I don't know what else to do, I have a loaded gun in my lap right now, I'm so scared."

A friend who was also stationed at the Brunswick Naval Air Station, called base security and reported that Purcell was contemplating suicide and had a gun.

Arriving on the scene, officers found an empty gun case and bullets on top of a television stand but no weapon. When the officers tried to restrain Purcell, a struggle ensued. He was eventually subdued by five officers.

Back in his room, Purcell was permitted to use the bathroom and one of his handcuffs was removed. He was accompanied by his friend, Nathan Mutschler.

"After entering the bathroom, Purcell pulled his gun from his waistband and committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest," court documents state.

Two responding officers, Petty Officer First Class Mitchell Tafel and Petty Officer First Class David Rodriguez, faced courts-martial for negligent conduct and were punished via extrajudicial proceeding.

Purcell's family filed an administrative tort claim with the Navy seeking $45 million in damages.

The claim was denied on the Feres doctrine, a tenant of the Federal Tort Claims Act that bars lawsuits brought by soldiers against the United States and its employees for military service-related injuries.
read more here

Monday, June 20, 2011

Time to stop protecting military from malpractice suits

Is the Feres Doctrine fair?
The legal precedent that protects the U.S. military from medical malpractice suits is challenged

Stars and Stripes
Published: June 19, 2011
Staff Sgt. Dean Witt would likely still be alive and raising his two children if an Air Force hospital had not botched a routine appendectomy.

Medical staff at Travis Air Force Base in California committed mistake after mistake following Witt’s 2003 surgery — including pushing a breathing tube into his stomach and using resuscitation equipment designed for children — that left the blond-haired, blue-eyed airman in a persistent vegetative state until he was finally removed from life support three months later by his family.

“We saw Dean and he was wired to so many machines,” Carlos Lopez, Witt’s brother-in-law, said. “I couldn’t believe what I was looking at. How do you go from a super healthy 25-year-old man to somebody who is essentially lifeless?”

Now, Witt’s death is the latest tragic case of military medical malpractice that has worked its way to the doorstep of the Supreme Court in an attempt to upend the legal precedent known as the Feres Doctrine. For more than 60 years, the ruling has protected the U.S. government from being held liable when servicemembers are killed due to official negligence while on duty.

The court is set to decide this month whether it will hear arguments from the Witt family and the government on whether to strike down protections against such suits and award damage payments for Witt’s death.

A Feres Primer


The Supreme Court rules that the government is not liable for injuries to servicemembers on active duty caused by the negligence of other servicemembers. The decision creates what is now known as the Feres Doctrine and effectively blocks lawsuits over military medical malpractice on servicemembers.


The Supreme Court upholds its 1950 Feres ruling in Johnson v. United States, saying the government is not liable for a member of the Coast Guard who was killed in a helicopter crash due to flight controller negligence.


Staff Sgt. Dean Witt suffers severe brain damage due to mistakes by medical staff while undergoing an appendectomy at Travis Air Force Base and dies three months later when his family removes him from life support.
(also in the video below)

Marine Cpl. Yuriy Zmysly suffers severe brain damage after military hospital staff prematurely remove his breathing tube during an appendectomy.


Marine Sgt. Carmelo Rodriguez dies from cancer after the military diagnosed his melanoma but for years failed to notify or treat him.


The Carmelo Rodriguez Medical Decency Act is proposed by a New York congressman and triggers committee hearings on the Feres Doctrine but never gets to a floor vote in the House.


Airman Colton Read has both legs amputated after surgeons at Travis Air Force Base accidentally nick an artery and allow him to bleed out on the operating table.


The Supreme Court declines to hear the Zmysly case.


The Witt family petitions the Supreme Court to hear its case. The court is expected to make a decision this month.
read more here

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Military faces challenge to malpractice shield Feres

Military faces challenge to malpractice shield
BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — Veterans, military families and others who oppose a decades-old law that shields military medical personnel from malpractice lawsuits are rallying around a case they consider the best chance in a generation to change the widely unpopular protection.

The U.S. Supreme Court has asked for more information from attorneys and will decide next month whether to hear the case of a 25-year-old noncommissioned officer who died after a nurse put a tube down the wrong part of his throat.

If the law is overturned, it could expose the federal government to billions of dollars in liability claims. That makes it highly unlikely a divided Congress desperate to cut expenses will act on its own to change what's called the Feres Doctrine, a 1950 Supreme Court ruling that effectively equates injuries from medical mistakes with battlefield wounds.

The court case involves the death of Air Force Staff Sgt. Dean Patrick Witt, who was hospitalized in 2003 for what should have been a routine appendectomy at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, Calif. Following surgery, a nurse anesthetist inserted a breathing tube into his esophagus instead of his trachea or airway, depriving his brain of oxygen. Witt, of Oroville, Calif., died once his family removed him from life support three months later.

The nurse admitted her mistake and surrendered her state license. Federal courts denied the legal claim by Witt's widow, saying their hands were tied by the Feres Doctrine. Witt's family appealed, aiming to help other service members who get hurt in military hospitals.

"We labored on this for a long, long time, and we decided that the right thing to do here was to protect the rights of other people who go into the military and are signing away their rights to get good health care in the military system," said Witt's brother-in-law, Carlos Lopez, of Salt Lake City. "So we're hoping, we're praying, that his case could be the one that changes everything."

The Feres (pronounced FEHR-es) ruling grew out of the Federal Tort Claims Act of 1946, which allowed lawsuits against the government for negligent acts under certain circumstances. Initially the law was interpreted to forbid lawsuits by military personnel and their families only for combat-related injuries and deaths, but the decision in Feres vs. United States — involving a soldier who died in a barracks fire — widened that exclusion to bar any lawsuits over injuries "incident to military service."
read more here
Military faces challenge to malpractice shield

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Lance Cpl. Ezequiel Freire got out of Afghanistan alive but died of overdose at Portsmouth Naval

A 20 year old Marine faces combat, survives, returns home with PTSD and cancer, then dies of an overdose while in the hospital. There is not much this story lacks. Feres Doctrine will keep the family from filling a malpractice suit. There won't really be accountability for the fact he was in the hospital when this happened. Cancer in a 20 year old Marine and the fact that there are toxic exposures reported for years leading to cancer including the burn pits. Contaminated water and soil add to this. Their stories have been told but more are hidden. Their families suffer without justice, without answers but above all, without change for the sake of those who come after their loved one. They have prepared for the fact a bullet or bomb could end their lives but who can prepare for the government to finish what the enemy could not do?

Family angered by Marine's overdose death at naval hospital

By Bill Sizemore
The Virginian-Pilot
© December 29, 2010

Lance Cpl. Ezequiel Freire got out of Afghanistan alive, but a stateside hospital stay proved fatal.

The 20-year-old Marine's death from a prescription drug overdose at Portsmouth Naval Medical Center has left his family reeling, outraged and frustrated by what they see as an absence of accountability for those charged with his care.

Freire died of a toxic cocktail of powerful narcotics and sedatives as he was awaiting chemotherapy treatment for cancer. The case underscores the dangers inherent in the many potent painkillers on the market today, which have helped drive an alarming rise in overdoses.

Overdose deaths from prescription drugs now exceed those from illegal drugs.

The Freire case also leaves unanswered the question of what, if any, consequences there were for the doctors involved in his care.

There were ample warnings available on the drug labels and in the medical literature about the risks of the multidrug therapy that was used in Freire's case.

But there is no record of any public disciplinary action against any of the doctors by the Virginia Board of Medicine.

A hospital official said the case has prompted several ongoing investigations that have resulted in corrective actions.

The final insult, in the eyes of Freire's family members, is that they have no legal recourse against his caregivers. That's because of a 60-year-old legal precedent known as the Feres Doctrine, which prohibits lawsuits when military service members are injured or killed by negligence.

"We trusted them, and they killed him," said Federico Freire, the dead man's older brother and a fellow Marine. "It just sickens me."

The Freire family moved to Bradenton, Fla., from their native Argentina when Federico was 10 and Ezequiel was 4.

Back at Camp Lejeune, N.C., he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

There was something else wrong, too. Increasingly, he was troubled by chest pains.

His sister had noticed it over Christmas. When she joked with him, he'd say "Julie, stop making me laugh. My heart hurts."

X-rays at the base clinic revealed a large mass in his chest. He was taken by ambulance to the Portsmouth naval hospital, where a biopsy led doctors to suspect Hodgkin's lymphoma, a type of cancer.
read more here
Family angered by Marine's overdose death at naval hospital

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

House panel votes to overturn Feres doctrine

House panel votes to overturn Feres doctrine

By William H. McMichael - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Oct 7, 2009 17:42:11 EDT

A bill that would overturn a 59-year-old Supreme Court decision that bars service members from suing the government for peacetime medical malpractice narrowly passed a House Judiciary Committee vote Wednesday and now will be considered by the entire House.

The Carmelo Rodriguez Military Medical Accountability Act, sponsored by Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., is named for a Marine Corps sergeant who died in 2007 at age 29 from melanoma. The condition was correctly diagnosed 10 years earlier, but the doctor failed to tell Rodriguez or refer him for treatment. Years later, another military doctor said the growth was a birthmark.

The Rodriguez family could find no relief in the courts. A 1950 Supreme Court decision that became known as the Feres doctrine prohobits active-duty members from holding the government accountable for medical negligence.
read more here

Monday, August 24, 2009

Military medical mistake changes Arlington Airman

I found this looking at another story. I can't believe no major news source picked this up.

Military medical mistake changes Arlington Airman
July 17, 2009
Jessica Read is still stunned about what happened to her husband. "It's hard for us to understand"

Travis Air Force Base was supposed to operate on a gallbladder, but ended up cutting the aortic valve of this Airman. Because of the FERES Doctrine, his legs were amputated over blood loss but no one can be sued. Airman Colten Read is left without legs.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Federal bill would allow GIs to sue for medical negligence

Federal bill would allow GIs to sue for medical negligence
Malpractice claim » A Utah colonel says the military botched her operation.
By Dawn House

The Salt Lake Tribune

Updated: 06/23/2009 10:10:11 PM MDT

A colonel who underwent surgery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center to remove a cancerous breast says her physician operated on the wrong side of her body, mistakenly removing several healthy lymph nodes and disfiguring her.

But the government rejected all claims brought by Col. Adele Connell of Stansbury Park under a law that makes it nearly impossible for GIs and their families to sue the military for medical malpractice.

Connell hopes a bill the House Judiciary Committee expects to consider today will allow military families like hers to hold the government accountable for noncombat-related injuries. The Carmelo Rodriguez Military Medical Accountability Act would overturn the so-called Feres Doctrine, named for a 1950 Supreme Court case that effectively bars service members from collecting damages for death or injuries caused by negligence.

"These last eight months have been unbelievably difficult," said Connell, 57, who has served in the military for more than 30 years. "The reason I am going public is that I want to try to improve the military for soldiers serving all over the world."

Connell's attorney, Dean Swartz of Washington, D.C., said it's outrageous that imprisoned felons can sue for damages from medical malpractice, but that same right is denied members of the U.S. military.

"This is a no-brainer," he said. "When doctors operate on the wrong side of a patient and cause harm, there should be some compensation."
go here for more

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bill to repeal Feres clears first hurdle

Bill to repeal Feres clears first hurdle

By William H. McMichael - Staff writer
Posted : Tuesday May 19, 2009 15:05:37 EDT

An effort to overturn a 59-year-old Supreme Court decision barring service members from suing the government for negligence inched forward Tuesday when a House subcommittee approved the Carmelo Rodriguez Military Medical Accountability Act.

The bill is named for a Marine Corps platoon leader and Iraq war veteran who was not told by military doctors that he had been diagnosed with melanoma, was not referred for treatment and, years later, was told the growth was a birthmark. Rodriguez, of Ellenville, N.Y., died from skin cancer in November 2007 at age 29.

Rodriguez and his family were barred from suing the government for medical malpractice by a 1950 ruling that became known as the Feres doctrine, which prohibits those on active duty from suing the government for negligence resulting in personal injuries.

If the bill approved by the House Judiciary Committee’s commercial and administrative law subcommittee is eventually enacted, service members could gain that right.
go here for more
Bill to repeal Feres clears first hurdle

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Death of Marine Carmelo Rodriguez could change law

Sister of deceased marine implores Congress to reverse military medical malpractice ban

Rodriguez: "I speak for the countless ..."

WASHINGTON – Marine Sgt. Carmelo Rodriguez of Ellenville died in 2007 at the age of 29 from a melanoma on his buttocks that was misdiagnosed by military doctors while he served in Iraq.

Congressman Maurice Hinchey has introduced legislation that would reverse a current 50 year old federal law that prohibits lawsuits and he testified about it before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law.
go here for more

For his story go here

Friday, February 1, 2008

The Death of Marine Carmelo Rodriguez

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Soon, The Name "Carmelo Rodriguez" Will Be Heard In Congress
Case Sheds Light On Military LawSoon, The Name "Carmelo Rodriguez" Will Be Heard In Congress

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Legislator pushing bill to overturn Feres Doctrine
Law prevents troops’ malpractice lawsuitsLegislator pushing bill to overturn Feres DoctrineBy Leo Shane III, Stars and Stripes

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.
go here for more

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.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Soon, The Name "Carmelo Rodriguez" Will Be Heard In Congress

Case Sheds Light On Military Law
Soon, The Name "Carmelo Rodriguez" Will Be Heard In Congress

WURTSBORO, N.Y., May 19, 2008

(CBS) Today the name Carmelo Rodriguez marks a modest grave in upstate New York, where his family still visits, and still mourns.

But soon - as early as Tuesday - that name will be introduced on the floor of the U.S. Congress, CBS News correspondent Byron Pitts reports.

"The bill is called the Carmelo Rodriguez Military Medical Malpractice and Injustice Act," said Rep. Maurice Hinchley.

CBS News reported exclusively on the life and death of Marine Sgt. Carmelo Rodriguez last January. While he was serving as a platoon leader in Iraq, his family says a military doctor there "misdiagnosed" the sergeant's skin cancer, calling it instead "a wart."

A condition first diagnosed in 1997 during Rodriguez's original medical exam from his enlistment.

But doctors did not inform him or recommend any follow-up.

Untreated for years, the melanoma worsened. By the time Pitts met Sgt. Rodgriquez, the once-fit, gung-ho Marine had lost nearly 100 pounds. As we were preparing to interview him … he died.

His death sparked a rush of e-mails, letters and calls to CBS News and members of Congress. Due to what's known as the Feres Doctrine, Rodriguez's family, including his 7-year-old son, cannot sue the military for medical practice.

Unlike every other U.S. citizen, the Feres Doctrine forbids active military from suing the federal government for malpractice. One argument: it would disrupt military order and discipline.

"No Congress has ever changed it," said Maj. Gen. John D. Altenburg. "They've had 50-some years to have opportunity to change the federal tort claims act and to effect the Feres Doctrine, and they chose not to do that and I think for good reason."
go here for more

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Feres Doctrine is Doctrine of Death

Active military barred from malpractice suits
1950 ruling protects service hospitals, regardless of error
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
April 20, 2008

Minutes after routine surgery for acute appendicitis in October 2003, Staff Sgt. Dean Witt, 25, was being moved to a recovery room at a Northern California military hospital when he gasped and stopped breathing.

A student nurse assisting an understaffed anesthesia team tried to resuscitate Witt and failed. Inexplicably, Witt's gurney was wheeled into a pediatric area. Lifesaving devices sized for children, not a 175-pound adult, proved useless, according to an internal report on the incident.

Medical personnel at David Grant Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base screamed at each other. A double dose of a powerful stimulant was mistakenly administered. When a breathing tube was inserted, it was misdirected, uselessly pumping air into Witt's stomach. Errors compounded errors, and delays multiplied.

By the time a breathing tube was finally inserted correctly, Witt had suffered devastating brain damage. Three months later, he was removed from life support and died. Witt left behind a wife and two young children.

"This medical incident was due to an avoidable error," concluded a previously unpublished internal report, a copy of which was reviewed by the Los Angeles Times.

Despite the report's harsh criticism of Witt's medical care, the bereaved family could not sue for malpractice because Witt was an active-duty airman. Under limits stemming from an obscure Supreme Court ruling nearly 60 years old, military hospitals and their staffs are immune from malpractice claims if the victim is an enlisted man or woman on active duty.

A series of court rulings since 1950 have upheld the original decision, known as Feres v. United States, which denies members of the military the right to sue for damages over medical errors or even deliberate wrongs.

Feres defenders say the doctrine is necessary to protect the military from costly, time-consuming trials that could compromise military discipline. Rep. Duncan Hunter, a Republican from California, member of the House Armed Services Committee and a former fighter pilot, called Feres "a reasonable approach to ensuring that litigation does not interfere with the objectives and readiness of our nation's military."

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