The Defense Department on Thursday will officially publish the rules governing how uniformed service members or their representatives can file a claim against the military for malpractice.
The new regulation, which will take effect 30 days after Thursday’s publication in the Federal Register, marks a significant step in service members’ or families’ ability to seek recourse for malpractice. An advance look was posted online Wednesday morning.
For decades, the Feres Doctrine — named for a plaintiff in a landmark 1950 U.S. Supreme Court case — has kept active-duty military personnel from suing the government over personal injuries they incurred as a result of their service. This made it difficult for service members to seek recourse from the military when their medical treatment was mishandled.
But the National Defense Authorization Act passed by Congress in December 2019 contained provisions to change that. Service members — or their representatives if they are dead or incapacitated — became eligible to file claims for personal injury or death caused by a military health provider in certain medical treatment facilities.