The law offers service members the right to compensation for military medical malpractice. However, claims against the Department of Defense for military medical malpractice see long delays in California and around the country. One soldier and his family won their malpractice case in December 2019, but they were still waiting for closure in December 2021. Many other soldiers haven’t seen any compensation yet.
The case in the spotlight
The soldier filed a military medical malpractice claim after military doctors repeatedly missed a lung cancer diagnosis. The Feres doctrine prevents active military from medical malpractice claims, but a 2021 bill authorizes $400 million over the next 10 years for the DOD to pay out claims.
DOD malpractice claim delays
One attorney representing military members has filed 100 claims of military medical malpractice claims since the bill passed. She’s reportedly in constant contact with the DOD, but they haven’t made a single payout. Many of the victims don’t have time on their side as they face terminal illnesses, and families don’t have the luxury of negotiating for payment. The claims would give closure to the victims and their families.
The DOD has clarified that the changes to military medical malpractice claims were effective on July 19, 2021. The DOD is adjusting claims made since Jan. 1, 2020.
Every medical patient, including military members, expects to receive the best possible care when they enter a hospital or medical facility. Unfortunately, doctors and other medical staff can make mistakes like missed diagnosis, delayed diagnosis, medication errors and surgical errors. These mistakes can cause patients to suffer serious injuries, including pain and suffering, for which they deserve compensation.