Birth injuries negatively affect countless families across the United States each year. The mother, infant, or both can suffer severe physical injury, nerve damage, paralysis, and even death. When these injuries are caused by the negligence or action of a medical professional, then it could be a case of medical malpractice. Unfortunately, the malpractice laws that protect women in the private sector do not apply to women serving in the United States Armed Forces.
Our birth injury attorneys believe that servicewomen and their families should be protected from these terrible tragedies.
Over the last decade, all branches of the U.S. Military have seen a significant rise in servicewomen. These women not only sacrifice their lives for their country, they also get married, have babies and start families. However, servicewomen are not protected from negligence or substandard care during pregnancy. This is due to a Supreme Court case in 1950, Feres v. United States, which ruled that if active service members are injured due to the negligence of others in the military, then the government is not required to pay tort compensation for injuries. Instead, the Court left compensation for such claims to the Veterans Benefit Act.
However, since the military consisted of such a small percentage of women during this time, there was a significant oversight in obstetric care. Only women who are married to servicemen are protected in birth injury malpractice claims. Furthermore, since an infant is not a veteran, they are also ineligible. This leaves servicewomen and their infants completely unprotected in military reproductive malpractice claims.
The infant daughter of Captain Heather Ortiz of the U.S. Air Force was born with severe brain damage due to the negligence of the military hospital.
However, her birth injury malpractice case was recently denied by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. The court upheld the 1950 Supreme Court doctrine that exempted the government from liability in injuries.
The birth injury attorneys of Prochaska, Howell & Prochaska are dedicated to helping families recover from malpractice. Please call today for a consultation. Our birth injury attorneys are honored to serve your case!