We have another military medical malpractice case and another reason for Congress to legislatively negate the infamous Feres doctrine. Airman Colton Read, 20, went into the David grant Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base near Sacramento for a simple gallbladder operation — only to end up a double amputee due to malpractice.
For years, I have written articles as both an academic and as a columnist against the Feres Doctrine, which bars lawsuits against the military for negligence. For a discussion of the Feres Doctrine and its untold harm, click here and here and here. Such cases occur routinely but Congress refuses to act. (here and here and here).
In this case, Read went in for simple laparoscopic surgery to remove his gall-bladder. However, about 10 am (an hour before the surgery) a nurse ran out screaming that they needed blood. The Air Force surgeon had cut his aortic valve. However, the Air Force waited until 5:30 to send him to US Davis for a vascular surgeon. He had lost so much blood that doctors had to amputate both legs.
I can barely write about these stories after watching these tragedies for over a decade of study — only to see Congress ignore pleas from judges, professors, and military families for action. My study of the Feres Doctrine detailed about malpractice and negligence appeared much higher in the military than in the private area where there is a deterrent in the form of legal recourse for soldiers, sailors, air force personnel, and Marines. It is simply cheaper to maim or kill our military personnel. If members are serious of granting the very best for our military, they can start by giving them the same basic protections as other citizens.
For the full story, click here.