Sunday, July 3, 2011

It's Confirmed. Medical Malpractice Does Not Apply To The Federal Government.

Dean Witt
The U.S. Supreme Court has confirmed it--medical malpractice suits can not be brought up against the federal government, only the private sector. In this case, it is the story of Dean Witt, a staff sergeant at Travis Air Force Base. On October 10, 2003, he underwent a routine appendectomy at David Grant Medical Center on the base. Postoperatively, he developed laryngospasm and became apneic. The CRNA who was taking care of him intubated his esophagus but did not realize it. He suffered severe anoxic brain injury and was taken off life support a few days later. The CRNA admitted to the accident and surrendered her license.

His wife Alexis Witt then sued the government hoping to overturn the Feres Doctrine which prevents military servicemen from suing the government for medical malpractice. When the 9th Circuit Federal Court in San Francisco confirmed it, she hoped to take it to the Supreme Court. Alas, the court declined to hear the case, which means the Feres Doctrine stands. The Congressional Budget Office had calculated that if the doctrine had been overturned, the feds could face hundreds of medical malpractice suits every year and suffer $2.7 billion in legal costs over ten years.

I'm sure the government is highly relieved. Imagine the huge costs this would incur on our already trillion dollar budget deficits if Feres had been declared unconstitutional. I guess the equal protection under the law guaranteed in the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution does not apply to the private medical sector of our country. Do I hear "Let them eat cake"? Have a happy Fourth of July everybody.

1 comment:

  1. i am in college and was doing case studies for school work. i have a project to do when i researched different cases i found this one and it touched me. i am not in the military but i have much empathy for our soliders. they give up there lives to protect americans but in return cannot get something in return and that is just to be able to trust that there doctors are there for them to correctly diagnosis and help them get better. instead because of the feres doctrine our soliders and there families suffer. my project was on dean witt and there are many more. the same government that they can not sue because medical malpractices is the same government they protect from terrorists and they give there lives to the government. they should not be no different from any other citizens. I am going to school for a medical assistant but after researching these cases it makes me want to look more into b ecoming a doctor for the military so that the soliders have someone on there side. the doctors or nurses should be responsible just like they are at a public hospital. all i can feel is empathy for the soliders and families dealing with these issues and hope that one day the government will see that the feres doctrine is not fair and it is unconstitional. the government doesnt wnt to loose money so they let it stand but if they had real doctors who care bout there patients and there health they wouldnt have these problems. they do because they know they can get away with it. period.