A father is seeking help from the highest court in the United States following what he says was major medical professional negligence in the birth of his daughter. Virginia residents may be particularly interested in this case, as the legal issues at hand are connected with the mother’s active duty military status.
The alleged medical malpractice occurred while the child’s mother was being prepared for a scheduled Caesarean section delivery. Medical providers gave her a medication to which she was allergic, despite notations in her medical records of her allergy. After the pregnant woman had an allergic reaction, medical providers gave her an antihistamine, which caused her blood pressure to fall and subsequently deprived the baby of vital oxygen. This deprivation led to major consequences for the child, now age 6. She suffered nerve and brain damage, wears leg braces and receives physical and occupational therapy weekly.
The father of the child filed a medical malpractice suit against the Army hospital where his daughter was born. The case was dismissed by a lower court based on a rule that says that because the mother of the child is an active-duty service member, the child cannot win a birth injury suit. The dismissal was upheld at the appellate level.
The father has now petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court in an effort to have this rule, known as the Feres doctrine, changed. The Feres doctrine prohibits members of the armed forces and their families from bringing claims against the federal government for injuries that follow from activities incident to military service. The federal government has until mid-January to file a response to the father’s petition.
The circumstances surrounding this innocent child’s birth are troubling. Many Virginia families may hope that the U.S. Supreme Court decides to hear this case, and give this father the opportunity to obtain the help and recognition for his child that he is so desperately seeking.
Source: MilitaryTimes.com, “Military family pushes Supreme Court to consider malpractice claim,” Patricia Kime, Dec. 21, 2015