Military Medical Malpractice Claims

Claims for military medical malpractice are generally governed by the Military Claims Act, the MCA and the Federal Tort Claims Act, the FTCA.  The MCA covers injuries received by military families stationed outside the United States.  It allows people to file an administrative claim for medical malpractice against the U.S. government.  However, if the claim is denied, there is a limited right to appeal to the office of the Judge Advocate General for the particular military service.

FTCA claims, which are discussed more fully in the VA medical malpractice section, are also institued with an administrative process.  However, those claims may proceed to Federal District Court if they are denied.

The FTCA and an old 1950 ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Feres v. United States,  precludes active-duty military personnel from suing the U.S. government for injuries "incident to service," even if those injuries were caused by gross neglience.  That doctrine, known as the Feres Doctrine (after the name of the Supreme Court Case), has been broadly interpreted by courts to apply to virtually any kind of injury related to military service, including medical malpractice, even if the injury occurred off the job or was not caused by military personnel. Several recent attempts by Congress to repeal the Feres doctrine have failed in the Senate.

Fortunately, the Feres doctrine is limited to active duty personnel and typically does not apply to claims brought by military spouses, dependents, retired military personnel or other non-active duty military for medical malpractice injuries or death.  Thus, any potential claim of medical malpractice involving military personnel should be reviewed by an attorney experienced in bringing these claims.  The Cochran Firm - Metairie has extensive experience in handling military medical malpractice actions.