The nation’s 1.3 million active-duty service members are basically powerless to fight the health care system that treats them. Yes, even for the most selfless people in our government system, becoming a victim of medical malpractice is running rampant. This article explains how Lieutenant Colonel Chad Gallagher died last Spring after his superiors made him perform a test involving running and he collapsed. Only a short time before this test, Gallagher was identified as having a rare genetic condition that could cause sudden death due to physical exertion. Why, then, were these factors ignored?
It is difficult to say, although it is not at all unheard of for our armed forces to create a poisonous culture, in which the health of members is ignored or even discouraged due to bullying and peer pressure. What’s worse is that the Air Force (the branch Gallagher was in) has still failed to give his mother a clear explanation of what occurred and why. In fact, the official 15-page medical report says it was “no one’s fault,” which is clearly false because multiple people were aware of Gallagher’s condition.
As explained in our previous post on Medical Malpractice, thousands of people are affected every year from mistakes in the medial industry. Whether it be a misdiagnosis, mistake during surgery, or even a surgical tool left in the patient’s body (I know, shocking), cases like this occur every day in our country. The major difference is that service members in our nation’s armed forces often cannot act against the system because of the following:
- They cannot receive care elsewhere unless special approval is given, which is difficult to get;
- In medical malpractice instances, they and their loved ones have no legal right to challenge the system; and
- They are trained to follow orders and be tough, which increases the likelihood of things being swept under the rug.
It was only initially decided in January of last year that service members could even file a complaint regarding treatment. However, even after this decision, they are barred from learning what the decision is. Imagine: your health is compromised at a hospital when a doctor makes a mistake during surgery. The hospital says “You can file a complaint but we will not tell you what the result of that complaint is, whether or not the doctor is punished, or even if we will recognize the mistake.” Would you be okay with that response?
Personally, I would not. Of course I would not! Not only would I would be angry for the hospital so disrespectfully ignoring my needs, but I would also be fearful that the same mistake (or worse) could happen to other patients. This doctor would not be learning from his mistake, and would therefore be likely to repeat it. Thankfully most of us do not face this scenario on a daily basis, except for the 1.3 million individuals who give their lives to protect ours. One would think these brave young men and women would receive even better treatment, but they don’t.
If you or a loved one is in a similar situation, at home or overseas, contact the medical malpractice attorneys at Baizer Kolar P.C. today. We will stand up and protect those who cannot defend themselves, especially those who do exactly that to protect our freedoms.