WHO: U.S. Airman Colton Read
WHAT: Read, 20, went for laparoscopic surgery to remove his gall bladder last week at David Grant Medical Center in Travis Air Force Base near Sacramento. An Air Force surgeon mistakenly cut Read’s aortic artery, but waited hours to transport him to nearby UC Davis, which has a hospital offering higher quality vascular surgery. Because Read lost so much blood during the wait, doctors had to amputate both legs.
WHAT’S EVEN WORSE: Read, his wife and family are barred from suing the military due to the botched surgery because of a federal law called the Feres Doctrine. Lawsuits were supposed to be unnecessary because the military would “make whole” all injured service personnel. Read will receive about half his $1,600 monthly pay if he’s placed on medical retirement.
WHAT’S BEING DONE: A bill is pending in Congress that would finally end the onerous Feres Doctrine.