Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Veterans News and Info.

Tom's Journal.

Newt Heisley, Dead at 88 Sunday, May 17, 2009 COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Newt Heisley, the designer of the POW/MIA flag adopted by Congress in 1990 as a symbol of the nation's concern for those missing during...
****25th Anniversary of the Vietnam Veterans' Moving Wall!!!
This takes place from July 16 through 19, 2009, in White Pine
Michigan. The American Legion Post 462 is sponsoring the event.
The opening ceremony takes place on July 16, 2009, at 5 pm and the
closing ceremony will be held on July 19, 2009, at 5 pm.
For more detailed information, please contact the American Legion:
(906) 885-5471
****Ill. town posts names of troops along streets
SULLIVAN, Ill. - Residents of Sullivan, Ill. don't have to wonder which
community members are serving Iraq and Afghanistan. All they have to do is drive around town.
Lampposts and telephone poles lining two streets in this central Illinois town are adorned with white signs, each bearing the name of a resident who is serving his or her country.

More than 100 residents of this town of 4,400 have served in the current wars, and dozens are still deployed.

If someone comes home and then is redeployed, their name goes back up. If more than one member of a family is serving, their names are displayed on the same post.

Parents say soldiers enlist out of patriotism but also for opportunities beyond their small town.

****Vet Says VA Must Pay to get Message Out
****Feres Doctrine, Bill Would Allow Military Personnel to Sue for Medical Malpractice

Also see: http://hamptonroads.com/print/509643 and


. H.R.1478 : To amend chapter 171 of title 28, United States Code, to allow members of the Armed Forces to sue the United States for damages for certain injuries caused by improper medical care, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Hinchey, Maurice D. [NY-22] (introduced 3/12/2009) Cosponsors (2)
Committees: House Judiciary
Latest Major Action: 5/19/2009 House committee/subcommittee actions. Status: Forwarded by Subcommittee to Full Committee (Amended) .


Legislation that would enable military service members to sue the government for medical malpractice is moving closer to becoming law. The House Judiciary Subcommittee approved Carmelo Rodriguez Military Medical Accountability Act. The legal precedence barring negligence lawsuits for military service members goes back to a 1950 Supreme Court ruling known as the Feres Doctrine.

The Feres ruling came from the Federal Tort Claims Act of 1946, which waived the common law doctrine of sovereign immunity in certain circumstances to allow lawsuits against the government for negligent acts. The law was initially interpreted to forbid lawsuits by military personnel only for combat-related injuries. The Feres decision extended the law to include any lawsuits for injuries “incident to military service.”

Over the years cases applying the Feres Doctrine have include incidents such as leaving foreign objects inside patients, misdiagnosing, failure to notify patients about potentially deadly health problems, and failure to treat patients with easily treatable illnesses.

The Feres Doctrine has received criticism all across the board. Attempts to revoke the doctrine have surfaced periodically in Congress for over 20 years, but all have failed. In 1987, a 5-4 Supreme Court decision reaffirmed the Doctrine. The decision drew dissents from Justices John Paul Stevens and Antonin Scalia.

Scalia wrote that the Feres Doctrine “was wrongly decided and heartily deserves the widespread, almost universal criticism it has received.”

The latest attempt to amend the Feres Doctrine is H.R. 1478, the “Carmelo Rodriguez Military Medical Accountability Act of 2009”, introduced by U.S. Representative Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y). The Act would allow lawsuits on behalf of military personnel who are killed or injured by medical malpractice but would contain an exception for combat-related injuries. It also requires that any paid claim be reduced by the amount of any other government compensation resulting from the injury.

U.S. Rep. Hinchey said, “I think military personnel should be treated in normal ways. Their medical issues should be dealt with responsively and attentively, the way we anticipate and expect the medical problems of ordinary citizens should be dealt with. We see far too much negligence in military medical care.”

Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, has been a leading critic of the Feres Doctrine for years.

He said, “We see cases in the military involving conduct that would be viewed as perfectly medieval in the civilian world. Decades ago civilian doctors were sued over the practice of leaving sponges in patients. It used to be very common.”

Now, he says, it is rare to see that type of malpractice in civilian medicine, due to the fear of lawsuits. But since there is no fear of a lawsuit in military medicine, it keeps occurring.

Turley said, “I consider the Feres Doctrine to be one of the most grotesque rules created in the history of this republic. It has done untold damage to thousands of military personnel and their families.”

Let’s hope for the sake of our military that the Carmelo Rodriguez Military Accountability Act of 2009 has a better outcome than other bills written to overturn the Feres Doctrine. Rep. Hinchey admits that this bill is going to face a tough fight, but as far as he is concerned it is simply a matter of fairness.

Find this article at:

****In Case You Missed It: Buyer Bill Seeks to Boost Surviving Spouses' VA Benefits
Washington, D.C. – Earlier this month, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs Steve Buyer and Congressman Tim Walz introduced H.R. 2243, the Surviving Spouses’ Benefit Improvement Act of 2009, which would increase Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) by twelve percent and eliminate the offset between DIC and the Survivor Benefit Plan.

H.R. 2243 was highlighted in today’s Washington Post


No comments: