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Some lawmakers fighting to allow troops to sue for malpractice

The United States Senate is currently considering a bill that would allow members of the military to sue their military doctors and medical professionals, should they commit medical malpractice, including those in Texas. At this time, under court precedent, troops must resort to VA benefits or other programs in order to get compensation for accidents while on duty, including medical negligence.

The new measure is running in to some opposition. Proponents say that, as a matter of fairness, soldiers who are victims of medical malpractice should not get shutout of court just because their doctors happen to be military themselves.

Opponents, however, believe that the current system of awarding benefits on a no-fault basis is adequate. It should be noted, though, that these benefits do not cover items, like pain and suffering, and they may not even pay for all of a soldier's lost wages.

To be clear, even under the current rules, troops are only prevented from suing federal employees, including military doctors, for medical malpractice. For example, a former service member who experiences medical negligence in a civilian hospital may have a viable medical malpractice case. This is true even if a person is drawing federal benefits on some other grounds.

Indeed, a lawsuit may be necessary, as surgical errors, birthing errors and misdiagnoses can lead to severe injuries or even death. In bad cases of medical malpractices, the financial losses to a patient can be astronomical, not to even mention the hard-to-measure cost of one's pain and emotional trauma.

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