The story of the latest military leader to be removed from command highlights the widespread problems with medical malpractice in the Military Health System.
Worldwide, the Military Health System has 361 clinics and 56 hospitals serving 9.6 million beneficiaries. This system is distinct from the Veterans Affairs Department. Beneficiaries served by the Military Health System include active duty service members, active duty family members and retired service members. The Military Health System has a vast $52 billion operating budget.
But big dollars do not necessarily translate into good care. Examples of military medical malpractice abound in the Military Health System. In fact, a Brigadier General in charge of delivering health care to nearly 400,000 Military Health System beneficiaries was recently suspended over allegations of poor patient care and lack of infection control.
High government authorities looking in malpractice within the Military Health System
Brig. Gen. John M. Cho had, as of September 2014, been at the helm of the Western Regional Medical Command for less than a year. But even that brief stint was enough time for the Army’s Surgeon General to develop concerns about Cho’s leadership. While the September 4 statement from the Army announcing Cho’s indefinite suspension did not cite specifics, it came just as the chairman of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee called for Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to stage an investigation into wrongdoing and medical malpractice at military hospitals.
According to Military.com, the chairman wrote to Hagel: “In light of deeply concerning reports of subpar care and mismanagement within the Military Health System, I ask that all cases of permanent harm or death are thoroughly and impartially investigated.” Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Walk has already been working on his own review of the Military Health System.
Cho is not the first to be removed from command in recent months over systemic problems within the Military Health System. But his removal may have been the most high profile. Cho was in charge of oversight for the entire 20-state Western region, an area that contained 11 Warrior Transition Units and 11 Army military treatment facilities.
Contact a lawyer if you have been the victim of malpractice in a military care facility
Those supported by the Military Health System deserve care that is just as good as that provided to patients in the civilian health system. The ouster of Brig. Gen. Cho is just the latest manifestation of a long line of problems within the Military Health System that have put patients at risk.
If you suffered a negative outcome after being treated at a Military Health System facility, or if you lost a loved one after a procedure in a military hospital, medical malpractice may have been a factor. An attorney experienced in military medical malpractice can analyze the facts of your case and determine whether you may be legally entitled to compensation. Get in touch with a lawyer today if you suspect you were harmed by military medical malpractice.