Victim of Birth Injury at U.S. Military Hospital Brings Challenge to United States Supreme Court
Under a doctrine of law known commonly as the “Feres Doctrine,” active U.S. Military members may not sue a military medical provider for incidents that occurred in the course of military service. This legal doctrine has been used for over 50 years to allow the government and the medical providers that they employ to avoid liability for alleged medical malpractice or birth injuries without having many of the substantive facts of the case addressed by a judge or jury.
A recent Petition for a Writ of Certiorari filed with the United States Supreme Court seeks to challenge the use of the Feres Doctrine as it is applied to birth injury cases. Although it is not known if the Court will accept the case or hear argument on the Petition, the plaintiff’s challenging of the broad use of the Feres Doctrine in birth injury cases could signal a changing tide in favor of birth injury victims.
Child is Born Severely Disabled After Doctors Give Mother a Known Allergen
According to a legal news source discussing the case, it was filed after an active military service member was scheduled to give birth to her child at a military hospital in Colorado by cesarean section. The woman was given a medication to which she was allergic, and this fact was listed on her medical report. In response to a serious allergic reaction, the woman was given an antihistamine, which eventually resulted in the baby being oxygen-deprived and born with a serious birth injury.
The child now must receive special accommodations at school, walks with leg braces, and suffers other negative effects from the disability. Since the plaintiff alleged that the medical providers involved in the birth should have known that the mother was allergic to the medicine that resulted in the antihistamine dose and birth injury, she filed a birth injury lawsuit against the medical providers involved to seek damages to compensate her family and child for the alleged negligence that resulted in her child’s disabilities.
Using the Feres Doctrine, The Court Denies Relief
The woman’s case was dismissed based on the legal precedent that forbids active duty military service members from suing the federal government based on allegedly negligent medical treatment that was received while the soldier was acting within the course of their duty. Although this rule may make sense when applied to spur-of-the-moment battlefield decisions by a commanding officer, denying an injured child the right to relief from a clearly negligent decision by a doctor does not seem justified. Although the Supreme Court may not agree to take the case, if they do hold oral argument and accept the challenge, military families who are victims of birth injuries may soon have a pathway to relief and compensation.
How to Consult a Skilled Birth Injury Attorney?
If you or a family member may be the victim of negligent medical care, resulting in a Maryland or Washington, D.C. birth injury, the qualified and professional birth injury and medical malpractice attorneys at Wais, Vogelstein, Forman & Offutt can assist you with every aspect of your case. Our Maryland malpractice attorneys fight against negligent doctors and stingy insurance companies every day, and we’re prepared to hold them accountable for the harm your family has suffered. We focus our practice on Maryland birth injuries and medical malpractice, and we represent victims across the Mid-Atlantic region and nationwide. Contact the experienced birth injury attorneys at Wais, Vogelstein, Forman & Offutt today. Call us at (410) 567-0800 or contact us through our website to schedule a risk-free consultation.