Military service members have never been able to file medical malpractice lawsuits for medical mistakes made my military healthcare professionals. Thanks to a new law that was passed by Congress and signed by the president, that is about to change. At the Weitz Firm, we have always stood up for victims who have been harmed due to the careless or negligent actions of medical professionals. Now, we can work to ensure military service members get the compensation and justice they are entitled to for what has happened to them.
The Feres Doctrine has been in place for nearly seven decades. This is a law that “precludes troops from suing the federal government for injuries deemed incidental to military service.”
In plain English, the Feres Doctrine prevents military doctors from being held accountable for any mistakes they make that harm service member. This did not sit well with military personnel, particularly Army Sgt. First Class Richard Stayskal.
Sgt. Stayskal has worked diligently for his right to file a lawsuit against the military for what he believes was a failure to diagnose his terminal lung cancer in 2017. Stayskal has been driving from Ft. Bragg to Washington D.C. once a month to meet with members of Congress and to testify for his support for a change to the Feres doctrine.
That change has now come in the form of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which has a provision that will allow service members to file medical malpractice claims against the military. Speaking about this success, Sgt. Stayskal said of his fellow service members, “I think about them all the time, and they’ve been a part of me for this journey.”
Medical mistakes are not relegated to the civilian world. The military has an extensive and sophisticated medical system that handles every possible medical situation that can arise for service members. Just like civilian medical professionals, military healthcare professionals can make mistakes, including surgical errors, medication mistakes, misdiagnosis, and more.
Medical mistakes can have a long-lasting effect on victims and their families. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University claim that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the country, killing as many as 250,000 people annually.
If you or somebody you care about is a military service member who has been harmed due to the careless or negligent actions of a military medical professional, seek legal assistance as soon as possible. Recent law changes have made it possible for these victims to secure the compensation they deserve. This can include: