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.