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Military may soon sue for medical negligence

Precedent may change in next defense bill

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Each year, more than 250,000 deaths in the U.S. are caused by medical negligence. Many more suffer short- or long-term impacts. Families struggle to find answers and hold medical professionals accountable for their actions, but it is not simple, particularly for military members.

Since 1950, the Feres Doctrine has prevented active-duty military personnel from suing the government for medical malpractice according to Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala PLLC lawyer Michael McNeil[MM1], a former Army combat engineer. But this left active personnel caught in a loophole, without protection. A provision of a recent defense spending bill would change this precedent, with impacted military members being able to file for compensation just as they would workers’ compensation.

For military family members, jurisdiction is clearer, but cases are still complicated. While healthcare providers may claim that “accidents happen,” that is not enough for individuals or families suffering from these “mistakes.” They deserve answers, says McNeil, who, together with his colleague Darrell Cochran, represents military families impacted by medical negligence.

“Cases of medical negligence can be some of the hardest to win,” said Cochran. “The issues involved are complex and many lawyers don’t have the resources or expertise to fully understand the intricacies of the case.”

Issues of negligence don’t only arise with doctors, they can also involve any medical professional, including nurses, hospitals, dentists, psychologists, among others.

McNeil takes his representation of military members and their families very personally. These are members of his own extended family and he works to ensure they receive the answers and accountability they need to move forward.

There are a multitude of sources online touting information on medical negligence, but since each situation is unique, it is best to discuss your particular situation with a lawyer directly.

If you or a family member feel that you have received improper medical care, McNeil and Cochran encourage you to call them for a free consultation. Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala PLLC only accepts a fee if they win your case. To speak with McNeil or Cochran, you can call 253-948-3199.


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