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Medical Malpractice in the Military

Soldier carrying his daughter

Under the Feres Doctrine, any family or loved ones or living military troops may not sue the military for deaths or injuries brought on by service with the military. The reason this was initially implemented sixty-eight years ago, was so that grieving families could not bring a lawsuit against the military in which their spouse or family member served for. Also, families are already protected by life insurance and disability compensation. However, this does not cover the disappointing instances of medical malpractice that occur to military men and women, without any justice for wrongdoings.

Earlier this year, a green beret sergeant sought medical attention due to feeling ‘off’ in his training. He was above average in terms of being physically fit and was beginning to have trouble keeping up with his usual routine. He visited Womack Army Medical Center multiple times for CT scans, and checkups, and all that they could suggest was pneumonia and allergies. The sergeant and his family knew that there was more to what was happening than the doctors were able to offer. He was coughing up more and more blood as the months went on and experiencing numbing streaks and difficulty breathing.

Finally, his commander intervened and directed him to a civilian (non-military) specialist where it was discovered he had lung cancer. When doctors from the Womack Army Medical Center went back to their original CT scans, they did notice a mass on his right lung, a tumor, that was never acknowledged. Had the mass been noticed months sooner, his treatment, and a possible recovery, would be much easier and less invasive. Now, the cancer has metastasized to his pelvis, spinal bones, lymph nodes, liver, and spleen. Doctors estimate he may only live for one more year.

Due to the Feres Doctrine, the sergeant and his family cannot sue for misdiagnosis. In these cases, many people argue that the doctrine is outdated. They are not wrong. The fact that he was not properly diagnosed by the very corporation that will not allow him to sue is unethical in so many ways. The doctrine had good intentions when it was first put in place, however, it is no longer fully relevant or useful to families or for the reputation of the military.

This is a case that shows the many shapes and forms that a medical malpractice case may take. Currently, many people are working to change the Feres Doctrine. Misdiagnosis is a real thing, and it should not be taken lightly. A misdiagnosis, as we saw in this instance, is a very scary and life-threatening possibility. We should be able to trust doctors when they say that there is nothing wrong with us or there is something very wrong with us, as well as our loved ones.

If you are dealing with a misdiagnosis case of medical malpractice, contact us today for a free consultation. We will take a look at your situation and do our best to guide you and your family toward justice.

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