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Military families struggle with medical malpractice cases

People expect the doctors will do their best to take care of them in their times of need. It doesn't matter whether the doctor is treating a person for a routine problem or in an extraordinary medical situation. People's expectations remain the same: that they will be treated and cared for appropriately.

However, doctors often fall short of these expectations. Many doctors make careless mistakes that cause serious injuries to individuals. Many of these medical mistakes result in death to the patients. Unfortunately, these deaths can occur no matter who the patient is.

Many Maryland residents are members of the United States Armed Forces. Like private sector doctors, military doctors can also make mistakes when treating soldiers. This was the case with one woman who was killed by medical errors following the birth of her child. In this case, a postpartum hemorrhage led to the woman's death. Doctors had the opportunity to stop this hemorrhage but failed to follow proper medical protocols.

However, unlike private civilians, military members may have a difficult time holding negligent medical professionals responsible for their actions. Under the 'Feres doctrine' soldiers are prohibited from suing the government for injuries that occur incident to their duties. The government argues that medical mistakes made at military hospitals fall under this doctrine.

The families of soldiers injured by medical malpractice beg to differ. Many of these families have brought legal suits to try to change this doctrine. These families include the family of the woman who died from the postpartum hemorrhage. Experts hope this case makes it to the Supreme Court where the rule can finally be changed.

It is important for individuals injured by negligent medical professionals to understand their legal rights. In some cases, people may have the ability to bring a medical malpractice lawsuit against a negligent doctor, nurse or other medical professional. The suit can help these families receive the compensation they need following a devastating injury.

Source: Military Times, "Tragedy and injustice: The heartbreaking truth about military medical malpractice," Patricia Kime, July 10, 2016

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