FERES DOCTRINE HAS TO GO - TRAGEDY AT
TRAVIS AFB - DOCTOR MAKES "MISTAKE" IN
ROUTINE SURGERY - AIRMAN FIRST CLASS
COLTON READ LOSES BOTH LEGS - REMAINS
IN CRITICAL CONDITION - FAMILY CANNOT SUE
GOVERNMENT FOR "MEDICAL MALPRACTICE"
WILL AIR FORCE DUMP VICTIM OUT ON STREET
WITH MEDICAL DISCHARGE OR DISABILITY?
This is a terrible tragedy. And it shows just how much we need to abolish the onerous and unfair Feres Doctrine - where the Govt. is not liable (under Federal Tort Claims Act) for injuries members of the military incur on active duty.
Airman 1st Class Colton Read went to the David Grant Medical Center at Travis AFB in California for a routine, low-risk gall bladder operation. It should have been over in no time, with few if any complications to the patient. Instead, the 20 year-old former high school football player from Texas, nearly died on the operating table. A stupid mistake by an Air Force surgeon resulted in the young man losing both legs.
The horror began when the unidentified doctor accidentally snipped Read's aorta during the medical procedure, cutting off a normal flow of blood to the patient's lower extremities.
"WE NEED BLOOD NOW!" SCREAMED THE NURSE
"I was waiting outside, when all of a sudden I saw and heard a nurse rush from the O.R. screaming: "We need blood!" Jessica Read felt her heart pound and she recalled asking herself: "Oh, my God! could it be my husband? What's happened?"
The Travis AFB man underwent ten surgeries after being transferred to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, but vascular specialists were not able to restore the blood flow to his legs, and both had to be amputated. The athletic Read will never walk, much less run, again. If he survives, and he's listed in "critical condition" at press time, he will be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
Fortunately for Colton, he has a loving wife who will do anything to help him recover and live out his life as best he can. But what of the financial hardship that awaits them? Read was a low-ranking enlisted man and faces - in a normal life span - up to 50 years of expensive care.
Compounding his problems is the fact that the U.S. Govt. has been hiding behind the hated Feres Doctrine for 60 years. Oftentimes it has been used to avoid payment for injuries that civilian medical facilities, for example, would have to pay after being sued for "malpractice."
IF THIS MISTAKE HAPPENED IN A CIVILIAN HOSPITAL
A MALPRACTICE LAWSUIT WOULD BE SURE TO FOLLOW
Imagine if you will, if this blunder had been committed at one of America's leading medical facilities, like John Hopkins in Baltimore? Why, the lawyers would be "lining up" to represent Airman Read and his family.
But because this enlisted man was victimized on active duty, the Air Force can conceivably get off cheap by dumping him out on the street with a nickel and dime "medical" discharge, or just release him to the V.A. on "disability."
The doctor involved compounded his error by waiting five hours before transporting Read to UC Davis. Some observers tell MilitaryCorruption.com the young airman might well have kept his legs if medical evacuation had been ordered up earlier.
Perhaps something "good" can come from this awful ordeal, if Congress finally abolishes the Feres Doctrine. Let's start right now, and call it the "Colton Read Law."
WE THANK JEFF TRUMAN FOR FIGHT AGAINST FERES
Our old friend, former Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Jeff Truman, author of the excellent book "BEYOND THE SCOPE," has been battling Feres for years. The founder of the Veterans' Equal Rights Protection Advocacy (VERPA), Jeff told us: "The case of Colton Read breaks my heart. He must not be abandoned by the Air Force and his country. No way should the govt. escape its obligation to Colt and his family, using the Feres Doctrine as a shield to avoid responsibility. Let's push for legislation in Congress to abolish it once and for all. Then, Airman Read's suffering will not have been in vain."
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Airman Read is drifting in and out of consciousness. You can imagine what Jessica, his devoted wife, is going through right now. All of us at MilitaryCorruption.com ask you, our many thousands of faithful readers, to please pray in your own way, according to your faith, for the life of this brave, young man. Please pray he will recover and have as normal a life as possible. And pray for the surgeon who made the mistake, as well. We are sure he didn't mean to do it. He is undoubtedly hurting, too, and will carry that burden of what he accidentally did to Airman Read with him the rest of his life.]