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Fatal Medical Error in Military Hospital Highlights Injustice of Federal Tort Claims Act

The wife of a retired U.S. Navy petty officer died after an active-duty U.S. Navy anesthesiologist at a Virginia military hospital failed to properly re-insert a breathing tube when the wife suffered obstructed breathing due to an obstruction in her airway, according to Virginia Lawyers Weekly.

A lawsuit was filed against the U.S. government through the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). There are a number of rules and stipulations encompassing this law including:

1.)All suits must be filed in federal courts.

2.)There is no right to a jury trial. The matter is decided by a federal judge.

3.)Before any such suit can be filed, there is an administrative claim form which must be filed with the government that is a prerequisite to any lawsuit. This is essentially a trap that can snuff out a claim when a person fails to follow the administrative rule.  

All three of these rules are restrictive and hinder an injured individual or the family of a wrongful death victim to seek justice through the courts.

The justice system for civilians doesn't work this way. If a doctor, surgeon, or any other medical professional makes a medical mistake and is found liable by a jury, the medical professional will need to provide compensation to the victim or the victim's family (usually through medical malpractice insurance). That makes sense. The military hospital statutes within the FTCA do not make sense.

Fortunately, the family of the wife who tragically died at the U.S. Navy hospital received a $450,000 settlement. Though, they were wise enough to seek legal representation early on in order to comply with the FTCA.

If you or a loved one suffered an injury due to a medical mistake or surgical error at a hospital (either military or civilian), please consider contacting our firm for a no-cost conversation with an actual attorney.

?My cousin's husband [Don] died as a direct result of VA Hospital MDs ignoring our pleas to keep Don in hospital following surgery UNTIL HE URINATED. Claiming they did not have a bed in which to keep him overnight, they sent Don home [having not urinated since morning surgery] at around 6 pm. My cousin called the ambulance around 9:30 pm who took him to a closer hospital ER than the VA. Don was pronounced dead at around 5am the next morning. No autopsy was performed. The VA has issued two denials of the claim and a Complaint for Negligence must now be filed by early March 2011. CLEARLY, THE ONLY MEDICINE PRACTICED AT VETERANS HOSPITALS IS NON-MEDICINE. Licenses to practice would be cancelled if this were a private hospital. Thank you for considering this plea for assistance. [surgery was 8/7/06; death was 8/8/06].
by Billie Dickey December 16, 2010 at 12:45 PM
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