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Can I Sue A Military Hospital For Birth Injuries Under the FTCA?

Service members have access to tons of military hospitals and medical facilities across the country, much like civilians do. When a member of the military becomes pregnant, the same protocol is followed to ensure that she receives the best possible care throughout her pregnancy and beyond. Unfortunately, not all women receive sufficient treatment, resulting in birth injuries during labor and delivery in military hospitals.

Since the military provides healthcare to millions of service members, when medical malpractice occurs, especially when it ends in a birth injury, the hospital, doctor, or healthcare professional responsible should be held liable. Contact our experienced team of military birth injury attorneys now from justice Guardians to get legal assistance with your potential case.

What Is Military Medical Malpractice? Get Your Answers

Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional or other healthcare practitioner is “negligent” or provides care that goes below the “standard of care” that should be given to every patient. In a specific situation, the “standard of care” measures the amount of treatment that similar medical professionals or doctors agree is appropriate. The following are some examples of medical malpractice claims:

A duty of care was broken between the medical professional and the patient, resulting in preventable injuries.

The patient was subjected to the healthcare provider’s negligence and/or carelessness.
Physical suffering, mental stress, medical costs, severe disability, mental impairment, physical deformity, and/or lost potential for future income were all suffered by the patient as a result of the injury.

Military hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities, such as an MTF or a Veterans Administration (VA) facility, frequently provide medical services to service members and their families. Active duty military officers and federal workers make up the vast bulk of healthcare workers at such facilities. Medical malpractice claims involving active-duty healthcare practitioners or those employed by the United States government in a military institution are covered by the Federal Tort Claims Act.

What Is The Federal Tort Claims Act? (FTCA)

Military medical malpractice cases are pursued under the Federal Tort Claims Act, and anybody who has been affected by medical malpractice at military medical centers may be entitled for compensation. The Federally Supported Health Centers Assistance Act of 1992 and 1995 provides medical malpractice liability coverage to HRSA-supported treatment centers under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). Under the Act, healthcare facilities are categorized as Federal employees who are protected from lawsuits and whose main insurance is covered by the federal government. To submit a medical malpractice claim and be eligible for FTCA, you must comply with the following requirements:

  • Medical malpractice lawsuits made by military personnel must be submitted within two years of the occurrence.
  • The Attorney General of the United States or an equivalent person must be notified of the filing of a claim and the amount of compensation sought.
  • Following the submission of the administrative claim, the government has six months to investigate the claims and if they do not do so within that period, the injured active duty individuals may file an FTCA claim.

Can I Sue A Military Hospital That Caused A Birth Injury?

Service members, military families, and their dependents have two possibilities for initiating a case against the federal government following a birth injury with the support of Justice Guardians, depending on where the accident happened.

Choice 1:

Injured military members can file a medical malpractice claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act against the medical practitioner, institution, or even the federal employee who caused the birth injury if the injuries occur in the United States.

Choice 2:

If the injuries occurred outside of the United States, the Military Claims Act (MCA) allows individuals to file a medical malpractice claim against the government.

We recommend discussing the specifics of your possible military medical malpractice lawsuits with a skilled litigation firm like Justice Guardians. The team of military medical malpractice lawyers can offer you a free legal consultation to help you determine whether you have a case.

Do Military Veterans And Active Members Have The Same Legal Rights?

When medical negligence happens, active-duty military members did not initially have the same legal protections as veterans. Under the Feres Doctrine, which was adopted by the United States Supreme Court in 1950, active-duty military soldiers were normally barred from pursuing claims against the United States government for injuries resulting from their service. As a result of this ruling, they are no longer able to sue the government in federal court for medical malpractice.

This all changed in 2019, when the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act was passed, allowing active-duty soldiers to sue the federal government for medical malpractice claims. This was implemented not just for active-duty soldiers, but also for their family members who survived or died as a result of the malpractice tragedy. Congress set aside $400 million over the next ten years to deal with military medical negligence lawsuits and there is no longer any limit to the number of damages a plaintiff can get.

Military Birth Injuries During Labor And Delivery

It’s not always apparent if military physicians, medical professionals, or other healthcare workers were at-fault for a birth injury. It might be difficult to gather enough information to support your case, and all medical malpractice claims must show that the occurrence could have been avoided if appropriate care had been performed. In order to file a military birth injury lawsuit, there are a series of components that must be met in order to qualify. Some of these are:

  • The proof that there was in fact a birth injury
  • Proof that there was a doctor and patient discussion on the birth plan and that a duty of care that was supposed to be provided, was in fact not given.
  • Evidence indicating the medical standard of care was below average and that medical doctors and healthcare professionals were not treating patients properly.
  • Evidence indicating your baby’s injuries were caused by medical negligence or carelessness during labor and delivery.
Three-day-old newborn baby in intensive care unit in a medical incubator.

What Are Common Birth Injuries In Medical Hospitals?

The list of birth injuries is generally rather similar regardless if you were taken to a naval medical center, an air force medical facility, an army medical center, or any other military-run hospital. The following are just a few of the forms of injuries that are commonly faced in birth injures:

Broken Bones:

Since newborns are so fragile, it’s essential that they’re handled carefully throughout labor and delivery. Incorrect use of devices like forceps, or even being unnecessarily rough with a newborn, can lead to significant fractures that can cause long-term health complications.

Brain Damage:

Head injuries may have a profound impact on a child’s development, with consequences that can last a lifetime and lead to extreme pregnancy complications. Brain trauma is caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain and physical trauma, such as inadequate use of birthing instruments.

Cerebral Palsy:

Cerebral palsy is a developmental and mobility disability caused by a lack of oxygen during pregnancy or delivery. It results in weakened muscles, a lack of coordination, and other symptoms.

Erb’s Palsy:

Erb’s palsy is generally triggered by being too forceful with a baby during delivery, as well as surgical mistakes caused by inappropriate use of equipment such as clamps.

Brachial Plexus Palsy:

The brachial plexus is a structure of nerves that travels around your shoulder from your spinal cord down to your arms and into your hands. If a baby’s arm is fractured at birth, it can have a major impact on their capacity to use it, resulting in excruciating physical discomfort or the need for spinal surgery.

Military Medical Malpractice: Free Consultations For Birth Injuries

Contact a personal injury lawyer for a free consultation if you or a family member has been harmed as a consequence of medical negligence. An experienced legal team can assist military families in obtaining compensation for medical costs, missed earnings, and physical and mental stress that you and your child have faced.

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