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Federal Government seeks to expand immunity for negligent medical care of active duty family members

In a sad example of "what have you done for me lately?" attorneys representing the federal government are taking aggressive steps to broaden the immunity the federal government claims for medical negligence.  Several decades ago, a decision of the U.S. Supreme Court held that although active duty service members are entitled to government-provided medical care, they cannot sue for negligence.  Whether or not that was a good idea or sound public policy, the decision has never been applied to the family members of active duty servicemen.  Now, in an effort to "contain costs," government attorneys are arguing that the decision should also apply to cases where a serviceperson's dependant was damaged by poor care.  The Military Times reported this month that attorneys in Florida are raising the immunity issue in a case involving the death of a service couple's baby and in a case involving the failure to diagnose a  serviceman's wife's subsequently fatal cerebral hemorrhage.

Frankly, it is beyond us why the "sovereign" or "governmental immunity" English Kings granted themselves in court should continue to apply in a democracy in any situation.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
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