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June 24 2009 - Bill Would Allow Soldiers to Sue Doctors

A bill before Congress would allow members of the U.S. military and their families to sue for medical malpractice.

The measure is named after Marine Sgt. Carmelo Rodriguez, who died last year of melanoma at the age of 28, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. Backers of the legislation say Rodriguez, who had served a tour of duty in Iraq, was a victim of malpractice by military doctors who misdiagnosed the cancer on his buttocks as a wart.

The Carmelo Rodriguez Military Medical Accountability Act would be retroactive to 1997.

Dean Swartz, a Washington lawyer representing Col. Adele Connell, 57, of Stansbury Park, Utah, said prison inmates can sue for malpractice while men and women serving their country cannot. Connell, who says surgeons removed healthy lymph nodes during breast cancer surgery at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, was blocked from suing.

The House Judiciary Committee was to consider the bill Wednesday.

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