Medical Malpractice: The Hinchey Bill
Hinchey's bill would legislatively turn back the U.S. Supreme Court's 1950 ruling in Feres vs. United States in which the court said military members and their families do not have the right or ability to sue the military for negligent medical care given to them during their service. The ruling, which has subsequently been referred to as the Feres Doctrine, has left families such as the Rodriguez's with no recourse for addressing the loss of a loved one due to obvious medical malpractice by military doctors and other medical personnel.
"Carmelo's situation and this legislation speak directly to the fact that our military, including the military's health care system, is spread far too thin by the occupation of Iraq," Hinchey said. "Our military is facing shortfalls of doctors, nurses, and other health care staff across the board. Additionally, it is incumbent upon the military to ensure that it has doctors who know how to diagnose non-combat injuries and diseases such as skin cancer rather than just having doctors who are trained to treat combat wounds. In addition to providing the Rodriguez family and other military families with a way to hold the military accountable for the wrongful death and injuries of loved ones, this bill helps encourage the military to take the steps needed to improve its care so that no one else ever has to go through what the Rodriguez's have endured."
Hinchey's bill has the support of Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) who has previously introduced a similar measure. This week, the congressman plans to begin collecting cosponsors for his legislation and is also working to find a Senate sponsor.
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