Medical negligence and low-quality assistance to US troops will now be punished by law
September 10th was a significant day when US Army personnel facing medical negligence have the right to sue.
According to official information, Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) And Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) introduced a bipartisan bill to punish unqualified doctors for errors and to recover compensation for damage caused to servicemen who were outside the combat zone.
It is reported that until today the law, known as the Feres Doctrine, which forbade making claims about the mistakes of doctors for all military personnel, was in force. This rule was formed in 1950 and throughout this time has “covered” numerous violations committed against soldiers of the American army, including sexual violence in the workplace and medical negligence.
As part of the new amendment to the old doctrine, the ban on filing lawsuits against medical personnel will remain in force for soldiers in the combat zone, but will “untie their hands” for the rest.
"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 & Purpose by Natalie Khawam, the attorney for Richard Stayskal, the Army Green Beret for whom the bill is named.
The main precedent in the struggle for their rights was the former Marine infantryman, Richard Stayskal. He was the victim of a fatal medical blunder resulting in a death sentence for a soldier. It is reported that he had progressed lung cancer, which was never detected during medical examinations conducted by military doctors. Later, the cancer metastasized and did not respond to treatment.
Mazie Hirono in his appeal noted that the new bill aims to eradicate well-established blindness to the problems of the US Army. He also noted that from now on incompetent doctors will be fully responsible for their actions and that long-term indifference to the people who serve our country will be corrected.
"For decades, the so-called Feres doctrine has denied our servicemembers their day in court when they are the victims of medical malpractice. It is slap in the face to the men and women who serve our country," Hirono said in a statement.