In theory, the nation’s military healthcare service is meant to serve and protect the very people who safeguard our country. In practice, however, the size and low patient count of the smaller military hospitals may be compromising the doctors’ and nurses’ ability to properly diagnose and treat these patients, thus exposing them to very real health and safety risks. With a long history of experience and expertise in medical malpractice and personal injury, Berkowitz and Hanna LLC can attest that theory and practice do not always synchronize.
Indeed, an estimated 1.35 million active-duty service members and their families have access to a system that spans 40 hospitals nationwide ― all run by the armed forces. According to a recent New York Times article, “Two-thirds of the hospitals last year served 30 or fewer inpatients a day ” and have thus been targeted (by the Pentagon) to be converted “into either outpatient clinics or birthing centers.”
But in the meantime, a failing hospital system—where inexperienced doctors are often performing well out of their comfort zone and beyond their professional capability—is paving the way for patients to fall victim to misdiagnoses, poor treatment, infections, and improper surgical procedures. To this end, last year the government settled 21 malpractice claims (each at $500,000+) with military patients—although the hospitals reported having only three cases where there was an indication of “significant harm” done to the patient.
The bottom line is that these hospitals cease to be viable when they can’t, or won’t, address the issues that put these military patients in harm’s way. Other than seeking compensation for malpractice, the only recourse for these patients is to move out of the military healthcare system and into civilian care.