The changing landscape of military medical malpractice: from the Feres Doctrine to present

Callum D. Dewar, Jason H. Boulter, Brian P. Curry, Dana M. Bowers, Randy S. Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Medical malpractice suits within the military have historically been limited by the Feres Doctrine, a legal precedent arising from a Supreme Court decision in 1950, which stated that active-duty personnel cannot bring suit for malpractice against either the United States government or military healthcare providers. This precedent has increasingly become a focus of discussion and reform as multiple cases claiming malpractice have been dismissed. Recently, however, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2020 initiated the first change to this precedent by creating an administrative body with the sole purpose of evaluating and settling claims of medical malpractice within the military's $50 billion healthcare system. This article seeks to present the legal history related to military malpractice and the Feres Doctrine as well as discuss the potential future implications that may arise as the Feres Doctrine is modified for the first time in 70 years.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalNeurosurgical Focus
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • 2020 National Defense Authorization Act
  • Feres Doctrine
  • military malpractice
  • military medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'The changing landscape of military medical malpractice: from the Feres Doctrine to present'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this