According to US News, interviews conducted with more than two dozen active-duty and retired military surgeons have found mounting evidence that military surgical readiness is fraying fast:
- There are severe shortages of skilled surgeons, especially trauma surgeons, on active duty and in the reserves.
- Army field hospitals “are not staffed with appropriate specialty capabilities for a combat theater.”
- The majority of the active-duty patient population rarely needs surgery, resulting in the majority of surgeons at the nation’s 48 military hospitals left struggling to practice their craft.
- Many of these surgeons moonlight in civilian hospitals to keep their skills from eroding.
- Lengthening deployments keep surgeons out of the operating room for months at a time, which drains their hard-earned and highly perishable surgical skills.
US News goes on to report that documents reveal members of the military’s Joint Trauma System and other military medical leaders have repeatedly warned Pentagon officials, including former Surgeon General Nadja West, about this crisis in surgical care.
While civilian surgeons at busy medical centers may perform as many as 500 operations per year, military surgeons perform one-fifth of that number.
Military Surgical Errors
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury as a result of a surgical error at a military hospital, we may be able to help. After the passing of this year’s National Defense Authorization Act, active-duty members now have recourse for pursuing military medical malpractice claims, a right that military family members have enjoyed for decades. Active-duty members can now pursue medical malpractice claims through an administrative process. Unlike many attorneys across the country, our attorneys have experience with military medical malpractice cases brought under both the MCA (Military Claims Act) and FTCA (Federal Tort Claims Act).