Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bill to repeal Feres clears first hurdle

Bill to repeal Feres clears first hurdle

By William H. McMichael - Staff writer
Posted : Tuesday May 19, 2009 15:05:37 EDT

An effort to overturn a 59-year-old Supreme Court decision barring service members from suing the government for negligence inched forward Tuesday when a House subcommittee approved the Carmelo Rodriguez Military Medical Accountability Act.

The bill is named for a Marine Corps platoon leader and Iraq war veteran who was not told by military doctors that he had been diagnosed with melanoma, was not referred for treatment and, years later, was told the growth was a birthmark. Rodriguez, of Ellenville, N.Y., died from skin cancer in November 2007 at age 29.

Rodriguez and his family were barred from suing the government for medical malpractice by a 1950 ruling that became known as the Feres doctrine, which prohibits those on active duty from suing the government for negligence resulting in personal injuries.

If the bill approved by the House Judiciary Committee’s commercial and administrative law subcommittee is eventually enacted, service members could gain that right.

“Congress took an important step forward today toward lifting an unfair policy that has denied members of the military and their families any recourse when they are the victim of medical negligence,” said Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., who wrote the bill. “For far too long, this country has denied its servicemen and women, the very people who risk their lives to protect our freedom, some of the most basic legal rights afforded to every other American, including prisoners.

“This legislation provides members of the military and their families with a way of holding their medical providers accountable for negligent care,” Hinchey said. “They will no longer have nowhere to turn should something terrible happen.”

The full House Judiciary Committee is expected to consider the bill before the end of July.


I think this law is about 59 years to late, I fully support the repeal of "Feres".

Sphere: Related Content