What is the Feres Doctrine?

On Behalf of | Aug 20, 2019 | Medical Malpractice |

Did you know that you cannot sue the U.S. military for medical malpractice if you are an active duty service member? That may seem crazy, but it is 100% true. According to CBS News, that is thanks to something called the Feres Doctrine. The history of the doctrine makes sense, but it is currently causing many issues for military members in North Carolina who feel they did not receive proper medical care.

The idea behind this doctrine was to protect medics during combat. This is understandable. They are under extreme stress and working is less than ideal situations. The last thing they need is a threat of being sued for making a mistake when all they did was try their best. Nobody is arguing this part of the doctrine.

However, the Supreme Court extended the Feres Doctrine to any medical professional in the military. This is where the problem is.

The good news is there are large numbers of people who oppose this use of the doctrine. They are working to overturn that part of it, leaving the doctrine protection only for the originally intended medics in the field.

In the meantime, military members who are seeking care from non-military medical professionals may find the military doctors missed signs of serious diseases or made some other medical error and they have absolutely no recourse. So, be aware that if you are a former active duty servicemember, the Feres Doctrine may prevent you from seeking compensation for mistakes made by military medical care. This information is for education and is not legal advice.