It is tempting to encourage people who have been wronged to “leave it in the past” or “move on”. Not only is such an approach insensitive to the victims of medical malpractice in the military, but it also is not realistic. The actions of the past continue to rear their heads until the issues are properly resolved.
If you don’t believe us, just ask Congress.
Billions of outstanding claims
As reported by Bloomberg Law, more than $900 billion (yes, billion with a “b”) worth of military medical malpractice claims are “languishing at the Pentagon, more than a year after Congress erased the seven-decade ban on troops or their families seeking compensation for injury or death at the hands of military hospitals.”
Lawmakers are pointing to this logjam as “an example of bureaucracy at its worst”, pointing out that despite Congress taking the historic step of opening up sources of compensation for malpractice victims, survivors continue to suffer while the Pentagon delays the settlement of claims. Servicemembers and their loved ones can file an administrative claim for compensation but are currently no better off than they were under the previous regulations that barred them from seeking compensation for their malpractice claims.
As we have stated before on this blog, no amount of compensation can make up for what victims and their families truly go through because of medical malpractice in the military. For example, a soldier who has had their cancer misdiagnosed will not be able to undo the physical damage with an infusion of cash. However, fair and full compensation does allow them to make sure their loved ones have the resources they need to move on in the aftermath of malpractice.
We hope that this process will gain efficiency and result in compensation for the many victims who are waiting on much-needed compensation. We would prefer to see the process eventually be unnecessary as a result of military hospitals and facilities taking this as a reminder to provide our active-duty service members and veterans with the quality of care they deserve in the first place.