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Panel Backs Malpractice Suits in Military

May 19, 1987|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A bill that would allow military personnel to file medical malpractice suits against the federal government for peacetime injuries suffered in military hospitals was approved Monday by the House Judiciary Committee.

The measure was approved on a voice vote and sent to the House floor, despite objections raised by the Defense and Justice departments at a hearing in March.

The Pentagon's general counsel, H. Lawrence Garrett III, said the bill would damage morale and discipline without improving medical care for service personnel.

Assistant Atty. Gen. Richard K. Willard said members of the armed forces already enjoy "generous, evenhanded and fair" compensation for medically related injuries. He said the bill would expose the government to costly new liability claims.

Robert W. Guimond, a professor of medical physiology at the University of Massachusetts, supported the bill.

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