SACRAMENTO—Congressman Maurice Hinchey of New York is following the case of a young Airman whose legs were amputated after a gallbladder removal procedure was apparently botched.
20 year old Colton Read is in intensive care at the U-C Davis Medical Center in Sacramento after being transferred from the David Grant Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base. That's where he underwent laparoscopic surgery to remove his gallbladder, a routine surgery that is performed over 700 thousand times a year. Apparently the surgeon cut his aorta artery causing massive bleeding and clotting that cut off the blood supply to his legs.
Hinchey has authored a bill would reverse a Supreme Court ruling that victim's of medical malpractice on the part of military doctors cannot sue for damages.
Hinchey sponsored the bill after one of his constituents, Marine Sgt. Carmelo Rodriguez, died of cancer after repeatedly being mis-diagnosed by military doctors. He says the ability by those in uniform to sue for medical malpractice would make mistakes less likely.
"If you are not responsible for what you do, then you're less likely to take the proper care and to do the best you possibly can...It's about really accountability," Hinchey told Fox 40 News.
Airman Read's family supports his efforts to change the no-lawsuit policy.
"Oh definitely that needs to be changed," said Jessica Read, Colton's wife.
She was assured by Air Force officials that they would take care of her husband. But his well being still concerns her.
" I mean Colton didn't choose to lose his legs...I think he should be able to live out his life comfortably and be provided for since he might not be able to do it for himself," said Read.
"I mean his quality of life is changed forever," said Shelly Miller of her son Colton.
Money is not sole concern for the family. They want to make sure that no one else faces the uncertainty that confronts Colton. They've have heard of numerous military victims of medical malpractice.
"I feel for them to have no recourse whatsoever, I think that's a real shame," said Miller.
Hinchey's bill has passed a House sub-committee and will next be considered by the House Judiciary Committee.