Tara Willke

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Through the application of the judicially created Feres doctrine, female service members who suffer injuries during pregnancy or the birthing process as a result of military medical malpractice are barred from seeking recovery under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) and, depending on the jurisdiction in which the negligent medical treatment occurs, their children may also be barred from seeking recovery for the injuries they sustain as the result of the negligent prenatal medical care. The Feres doctrine spawned from the United States government's passage of the FTCA in 1946, which was intended to be a broad waiver of the government's sovereign immunity.3 Pursuant to the FTCA, the government could be held liable for torts committed by its employees.4 The FTCA contains certain exceptions to this general waiver but never did, and currently does not, explicitly bar service members from bringing suit for injuries they sustain during their military service that do not fall within one of the enumerated exceptions.5

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