d. Legal. The work of an OR specialist also entails legal as well as
moral responsibilities. When he is unsure of what to do, he should consult the
NCOIC, a nurse, or a medical officer.
2-21. MAINTENANCE OF EFFECTIVE RELATIONSHIPS WITH MEMBERS OF THE
Optimum care of the patient is not possible unless effective working relationships
are maintained among members of the OR team. The specialist contributes
toward the maintenance of such a relationship by knowing his job and performing
efficiently, abiding by departmental policies, and displaying a positive attitude toward
both his work and his fellow team members.
2-22. LEGAL CONSIDERATIONS
The number of medical malpractice cases has increased substantially in the past
few years, both in the civilian and in the military sectors. Liability for medical malpractice in
the military is determined under the Federal Tort Claims Act. Under that act, individuals
may sue the Federal Government for the negligent acts of Federal employees who are
performing within the scope of their duties or employment. The individual military
medical care provider is protected from any personal liability by the Gonzales Bill (10
USC 1089) enacted in 1976, which makes the Federal Government solely responsible
for the defense and payment of medical malpractice claims. While the individual service
member will not have to pay any money judgment for medical malpractice, the service
member may be liable for criminal acts such as negligent homicide or involuntary
2-23. LEGAL INTERPRETATION
a. General. The liability of the Federal Government under the Federal Tort
Claims Act for medical malpractice is decided by application of the law of the state
where the incident occurred. It is true that the law and court decisions vary from state to
state, but the trend is to hold all medical care providers to a high standard of care.
NOTE: You are expected to utilize your superior knowledge in performing your duties.
You must always carry them out in a manner that meets the high standards
of the Army Medical Department (AMEDD).
b. Welfare and Safety of the Patient. All instruction of AMEDD personnel
concerning care of the patient emphasizes the welfare and safety of the patient. This is
the principle around which nursing care is built. Safe care of the patient results in safety
for those responsible for his care.