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Ben Glass
Ben Glass
Attorney • (703) 584-7277

Military Medical Accountability Act

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If one Congressman from New York has his
way, members of the U.S.
armed forces would be able to file medical malpractice suits against the
military.

The Carmelo Rodriquez Military Medical Accountability Act has been introduced
by Democratic Rep. Maurice Hinchey in an effort to reverse a 1950 decision by
the Supreme Court that protects the military from claims of malpractice.

The bill would allow members of the military to file suit for death or personal
injury that resulted from negligence, the failure to act, or wrongful acts in
medical, dental, or other health care the military provides to service members.
The claims would be filed against the government, rather than individual
medical personnel.

The legislation’s name comes from a U.S. Marine sergeant who died a year ago
from skin cancer after what some called errors in medical judgment were made by
military medical personnel.

Ellenville, New York
resident Carmelo Rodriquez, 29 at the time of his death, had a melanoma on his
buttocks which was misdiagnosed as a birthmark or wart by military doctors in Iraq.

Supporters of the Feres Doctrine, the decision the bill is attempting to
overturn, say that it is necessary for protecting officers from the threat of
potential lawsuits by lower-ranking personnel and aiding in keeping doctors in
the military.