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New law expands rights of military victims of malpractice

A man who once was in the Special Forces is now fighting for his life against a terminal cancer. He has consistently maintained that military medical professionals misdiagnosed his cancer, and that but for that misdiagnosis, his chances for survival would have been much better.

Now, the man has lived long enough to see an old federal legal doctrine overturned in part. Until Congress passed a new law a couple of weeks ago, the man was prohibited from filing a claim against military doctors for the misdiagnosis. He had been lobbying for a change in this law for a long time.

Under the new law, military personnel are still barred from filing claims for medical practice when their care was due to a job-related illness or injury, including a combat wound. Moreover, the new law does not give personnel leave to file suit in court. They must instead use an administrative process to claim medical malpractice damages.

Whether and to what extent a servicemember could sue after having a claim denied is not entirely clear. Still, the new law offers a lot of hope to the many members of the military who, until now, simply had no recourse after being victimized by serious medical mistakes.

The man who advocated for this change in the law reportedly has already settled his claim. On a happy note, a private charity is also donating a new house to the man and his family.

There are many military personnel who live in and around Kansas City and throughout Missouri, as this state has many military installations. It is important for veterans and active members of the military to be well-informed about their rights should they suffer at the hands of a negligent medical professional.

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