Indiana military families who are victims of
Medical Malpractice may soon find they have a new avenue to pursue. The United States Supreme
Court could decide as soon as Monday if they will hear a case that challenges
the way military medical malpractice is handled.
Currently, military nurses and doctors are protected from Medical Malpractice
and Medical Negligence lawsuits even if they have acted negligently or
made a medical error. The rule has been in place for more than 60 years,
and shields the United States government from being sued by military personnel
hurt while on duty.
Today, the Supreme Court Justices are looking into the death of Air Force
Staff Sergeant Dean Witt and its ties to that legal precedent. Witt died
in 2004 following a nurse’s admitted error as Witt was treated for
appendicitis at David Grant Medical Center. If the justices find in the
late sergeant’s family’s favor, they could hold a full hearing
on military medical malpractice during their next term.
Outside of military medical malpractice, each state handles Medical Malpractice
differently.In Indiana, medical errors are handled under the Indiana Compensation
Act for Patients which is also known as InCap. It’s been in place
since 1975 and was deemed ground-breaking at the time. Indiana’s
Medical Malpractice Act includes limits on attorney fees and is seen as
the reason for physicians in Indiana having lower medical malpractice
insurance premiums. Lawmakers, at the time, reasoned lower insurance premiums
would attract more doctors and lead to better healthcare in Indiana.