What You Need to Know About Suing Military Doctors for Medical Malpractice in Cleveland, Ohio August 11, 2012.
If you served in the military and have a question about medical malpractice, contact Mellino Law Firm today for a free consultation.
About the Feres Doctrine
Military doctors fall under a rule called the Feres Doctrine. This law protects military doctors and the U.S.government from medical malpractice lawsuits.
The doctrine went into effect in the 1950s after the Supreme Court placed restrictions on malpractice claims. It went into effect because the Court didn’t want someone of a lesser rank giving orders to a commanding officer of the U.S.military. The court decided that it was not a good way to uphold the integrity of the military.
While it might seem as though you can’t file a lawsuit against a military doctor at all, the doctrine does have some leeway when it comes to extreme cases of medical negligence. Each case of perceived medical negligence may be reviewed by an experienced attorney who will work to determine if there is a case. In other words, it’s not as if active duty members cannot bring a lawsuit against the U.S.government for the negligence of a military doctor.
Non-Active Military Members
Military doctors who care for non-active military members do not have the same protection under the Feres Doctrine. Instead, the Federal Tort Claims Act comes into play to protect civilians and non-active military members from medical malpractice of military doctors and healthcare professionals.
Non-active military members include:
- dependents; and
- retired military.
Although military doctors have protection against malpractice lawsuits, the U.S.government may be sued in extreme cases. As a military member, it’s important to know what kind of help you can get in case of medical negligence.
The Feres Doctrine protects the U.S.government from being sued for the medical negligence of military doctors; however, that doesn’t mean an active-duty military member can’t bring a malpractice claim. Each case is different, and in some cases, a lawsuit is plausible.
What’s complicated about this situation is that medical negligence must be proven beyond what was constituted as being best for the military at the time. This is why having an experienced attorney by your side to review your case can be helpful when determining whether you can file a claim. An attorney knows exactly what can be brought before the court and what cannot. There are so many variables considered by the Feres Doctrine that it can be extremely difficult to get through them all.
Malpractice for Non-Active Military Members
As far as non-active military members, they have the same right to file malpractice claims as civilians do. Simply save all of your medical records from physicians and pharmacists so an attorney can examine them. The attorney and a medical expert on his team can review them to see if medical negligence caused you harm. The attorney will then have to prove that the military doctor had a duty to care for you, that you needed care, and that he or she did not fulfill the duty in a safe, professional manner.
Contact Mellino Law Firm for a Free Consultation
If you believe medical malpractice caused permanent injury, such as nerve damage, attorney Chris Mellino welcomes you to contact our Cleveland office for a free consultation.