Assisting Active Forces & Veterans

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Medical Malpractice Assistance

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Protecting Those Who Protect Us


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Military Cancer Diagnosis

Injured by a failure to diagnose cancer at a military medical facility?

If you, or a loved one, were injured due to a failure to diagnose cancer at a Veterans Affairs Medical Center or military healthcare facility, you may have a right to bring a lawsuit against the government to seek a fair recovery. In general, non-active duty personnel, military retirees and family members of a serviceman are entitled to seek compensation for damages under the provisions of the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) for stateside medical negligence or malpractice case involving a military cancer diagnosis. However, a personal injury or wrongful death claim resulting from a failure to diagnose cancer at a medical center outside the boundaries of the United States, must be filed as an administrative claim (not a lawsuit) under the Military Claims Act (MCA) against the offending agency (i.e., Army, Navy or Air Force). When the agency rules against a MCA-regulated claim, then the claimant can appeal to the Department of Defense (DOD) for a "Final" decision but does not have the right to sue the government. It is always advisable to speak with an experienced military medical malpractice lawyer upon realization of any inaccurate cancer diagnosis.

Does the "Feres Doctrine" Protect Against a Bad Diagnosis?

Right or wrong, the "Feres Doctrine" protects the United States government and all branches of the military from any lawsuit made by an active-duty military member who was injured or killed due to military medical negligence of any kind including a failure to diagnose cancer. In keeping with our nation's "Doctrine of Sovereign Immunity" (which was adopted during the creation of our federal government), the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the constitutionality of the Feres Doctrine. One case that stands out is Sgt. Carmelo Rodriguez, whose death prompted a bill before Congress. The dedicated Marine saw a military doctor while he was in Iraq but was told his skin abnormality was a wart. It turned out to be a malignant melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer) which had originally been noted on his enlistment physical years earlier but no medical intervention had ever been suggested. Whether the military's delay in cancer diagnosis contributed to the serviceman's death was never considered to be an issue. Fair or not, the United States government remains protected by the Feres Doctrine against medical negligence or malpractice lawsuits involving active duty personnel.