Senators introduce bill that would allow service members to sue for medical malpractice
On Tuesday Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) introduced bipartisan legislation that would allow service members to sue the government for military medical malpractice.
The SFC Richard Stayskal Military Medical Accountability Act of 2019, a companion bill to the House version introduced earlier this year by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), would allow military personnel to sue the government for negligence or wrongdoing that occurred during medical care at a military hospital outside of a combat zone.
Currently, service members are barred from bringing lawsuits against the government for negligence or wrongdoing due to a 1950 Supreme Court ruling known as the Feres Doctrine. Since its establishment in Feres vs. United States, the legal rule has been broadly applied to everything from training incidents, to workplace violence, sexual assault, and military medical malpractice.
The proposed Senate bill (along with the House version, which is currently being reviewed by the Senate as an amendment to the 2020 defense budget bill) would not allow service members to sue the government for medical mistakes that occurred in a combat zone.
However, it would open the door for those who were injured — or for the families of those killed — due to botched operations at home.
“A claim may be brought against the United States under this chapter for damages for personal injury or death of a member of the Armed Forces arising out of a negligent or wrongful act or omission in the performance of medical, dental, or related health care functions (including clinical studies and investigations) that is provided at a covered military medical treatment facility by a person acting within the scope of the office or employment of that person by or at the direction of the Government of the United States,” reads the bill, which was provided to Task & …read more
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