This bill never became law. This bill was proposed
in the 111th session of Congress which ended in 2010. Sessions of Congress last two years, and at the end of each
session all proposed bills and resolutions that haven't passed are cleared from the books. Members often reintroduce
bills that did not come up for debate under a new number in the next session.
What exactly would the bill do?
The bill would allow military personnel to sue, even for injuries arising outside the United
States (i.e. Iraq or Afghanistan), for medical malpractice that occurs during health care provided by military health personnel.
This bill does not apply to combat situations.
The bill would
create limited exceptions to the Feres doctrine and to the prohibition on claims arising in a foreign country. It
would create these exceptions by allowing claims to be brought under the FTCA - for the personal injury or death of a member
of the Armed Forces of the United States arising out of a negligent or wrongful act or omission in the performance of medical,
dental, or related health care functions (including clinical studies and investigations) that takes place other than in the
context of combat and is provided by persons acting within the scope of their office or employment by or at the direction
of the Armed Forces of the United States.
The bill includes a section
so that the law of a state of the United States, rather than foreign law, would apply in cases where an injury occurs in a
Contact your representatives now!
1. Let them know that you appreciate the freedom our servicemembers provide and
that our servicemembers should no longer be denied a Constitutional right (First Amendment) that is granted to every citizen,
incarcerated criminal and illegal immigrant.
2. Ask them to cosponsor the bill. A large number of cosponsors
will indicate a high level of interest and will encourage the House and Senate to bring the issue to a vote sooner.
When summarizing H.R. 1478, Congresswoman Jackson Lee, Texas, said the following
during the House Judiciary markup session on October 7, 2009:
But what this
is, a simple premise of equality and the elimination of discrimination. It says that soldiers, noncombat, not in the midst
of a conflict, have the ability to be made whole on the basis of a medical malpractice determination...it would give this
individual, who happens to be active duty, the right to sue. That is an important element when you think of the sacrifice
they make for all of us, willing to sacrifice their lives, willing to go in faraway places, that they should have the opportunity
to be able to be served and to be served right.
I would...simply ask
the vote on the question of equity and justice that our soldiers have the right to be made whole in the light of an unfortunate
medical decision that would result in medical malpractice. (Pages 33-34 http://judiciary.house.gov/hearings/transcripts/transcript091007.pdf)