Air Force Veteran Sues U.S. Government for Medical Malpractice

Earlier this year, Renal & Urology News reported that an ex-airman who lost both his legs due to a doctor’s error during routine surgery was suing the U.S. government, the David Grant Medical Center, and the Air Force for medical malpractice. Our medical malpractice attorneys deeply sympathize with the victim and his family for the considerable loss suffered from a completely avoidable medical error.

The Air Force veteran’s lawsuit is yet another challenge to the Feres doctrine, which was a 1950 Supreme Court decision forbidding members of the military from gathering damages from the U.S. government for personal injuries sustained while in active duty.

The doctrine was extended to cover malpractice injuries sustained during service in the military. Multiple challenges have been made to the Feres case in recent years, though the Supreme Court refuses to overrule it.

The Air Force verteran was undergoing a routine laparoscopic operation to have his gall bladder taken out when one of the doctors lacerated his aorta, triggering a number of events that prevented doctors from taking any remedial action for over nine hours.

Eventually, the victim was moved to a civilian hospital where doctors determined amputation was necessary, as his legs had been without blood flow for so long.

The lawsuit requests $34.3 million in damages for the victim on the basis of various factors and also $20.5 million for the loss of consortium for the victim’s wife.

Another Renal & Urology News article, revealed that a jury ruled in favor of the plaintiff in a Wyoming malpractice case and awarded $9 million in damages to him and his spouse. The amount was the biggest on record in the state.

The jury in the case found that the ER physician who treated the plaintiff negligently and egregiously violated accepted medical care standards by not ordering a CT (computed tomography) scan or X-rays of the plaintiff’s neck.

Following an accident that caused his truck to overturn, the plaintiff, a 51-year-old-field worker, arrived at a Wyoming hospital with a neck brace on. The neck brace was fitted by emergency medical service workers who arrived at the accident site and freed him from the truck.

The ER physician who saw him ordered CT scans and X-rays of his head, facial bones and thoracic spine. Although the man complained of neck pain, the doctor failed to order any scans for that area. He released the patient without administering a physical exam or making arrangements for a cervical collar.

Four days later, the patient returned to the hospital with various complaints. Further tests showed that the man had a broken neck and that emergency neck-fusion surgery was necessary. Owing to the physician’s failure to diagnose the broken neck, the victim had to go through with a second neck fusion, suffered permanent C5 nerve root injuries and will require numerous future surgeries.

The man was unable to work and was confined to his home by disability and pain.

Of the $9 million awarded, $7 million was for the plaintiff for damages and $2 million for his wife for the loss of consortium.

In July, New Hampshire became the first state in the U.S. to put into practice an early offer system. The state legislature prevailed over a veto by the Governor and passed the unique program to handle medical malpractice claims.

The new decree gives the defendants of medical malpractice cases incentives to make settlement offers early in the legal proceedings. These offers would cover the plaintiff’s financial losses such as lost employment and medical bills, and modest damages for suffering and pain.

If the early offer is agreed to, the plaintiff could get the settlement amount within just a couple of months without the cost, uncertainty and time involved in a trial. If the offer is not accepted and the plaintiff instead wishes to go ahead with the trial, as per the bill, whoever loses the case is liable for court and attorney fees.

Advocates of the bill believe it will reduce expenses associated with malpractice insurance, make it easier and faster for injured patients to get settlements, and quicken a slow tort system. Opponents of the bill believed it was disadvantageous for injured patients.

If you suffered serious consequences from medical malpractice or error, consult a skilled medical malpractice lawyer for legal advice. Our attorneys have decades of experience working on behalf of medical malpractice victims and their families, and will ensure you receive the highest compensation possible.

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