I have long advocated for the overturning of the Feres Doctrine, a nearly 60-year-old U.S. Supreme Court ruling that bars active-duty military personnel from receiving compensation for injuries they suffer due to medical malpractice. The rule denies basic protections and protections to the very people who have done the most to earn those rights and protections and guarantee them for other Americans through their service to the country.
So I was pleased to see the members of the U.S. House of Representative Judiciary Committee earlier this week sent legislation that would invalidate the Feres Doctrine to the full House for a vote. According to an Air Force Times report, the Carmelo Rodriguez Military Medical Accountability Act is named after a Marine Corps sergeant who died at 29 of melanoma after military doctors withheld their diagnosis from him for 10 years. Like every other active-duty military member since 1950, neither Rodriguez nor his family could seek justice once the gross malpractice of the military doctors came to light.
The bill to overturn the Feres Doctrine may face tough opposition in the Senate, according to the Air Force Times, but at least federal legislators are beginning to recognize the injustice the rule perpetuates. As a member of law practice dedicated to representing victims of medical malpractice, I know how devastating errors and negligence by doctors, nurses, surgeons and pharmacists can be. I hope military members will soon no longer be left to suffer the consequences of medical malpractice without relief.
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