Military Medical Malpractice

A paradox that is just dumb: active-duty military personnel cannot sue military doctors – and, more importantly, the military – for medical malpractice. Under the Feres Doctrine, a 1950 Supreme Court ruling that bars active-duty military personnel – and, improbably, their families – from suing the federal government for injuries from malpractice. So unlike the rest of us, people in the military cannot sue for medical malpractice.

So run the scenario: guy is trying to take a hill in Afghanistan and gets shot in the leg, requiring a leg amputation. Doctor amputates the wrong leg. Does the military step up and pay for destroying this guy’s life so much further? No.

The Supreme Court is poised to look at this issue. But you can’t blame them for following a 61 year-old rule. But Congress can and should act on this. Because it is just not fair to the people we all agree we should be bending over backwards for because of their service to all of us. (That sentence is going to read incredibly trite when I post this. But it is what it is.)