Green Beret fighting for time has no commitment from Florida senators

8 On Your Side

Effort to provide active military equal rights bogged down in Senate

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Rich Stayskal is a Green Beret.

He is fighting cancer, fighting time and would like a commitment from Florida Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio.

Rich is struggling to change a 60 year old law called the Feres Doctrine that prohibits active-duty service members from suing military doctors for malpractice.

Rich Stayskal’s battle ground is now Capitol Hill

Army doctors in 2017 noted a spot on Rich’s lung but failed to tell him.

“They told me they’d call me if they saw something, nobody ever called me,” Rich explained.

That spot metastasized, now Rich is dealing with stage four cancer.

“They should be accountable just the way a civilian doctor in the private sector is accountable for their own actions,” Rich’s wife Megan said.

Rich calls the Feres Doctrine unfair.

The U.S. House agreed. It passed legislation in Rich’s name, allowing active-duty military to hold doctors accountable.

It’s stuck in the Senate.

“I’m looking at it,” Senator Rick Scott, (R)-Florida told 8 On Your Side. “We’ve got to come up with a way that government does things but takes accountability.”

Rich’s attorney Natalie Khawam contends the Feres Doctrine discriminates against the very people protecting America’s freedoms.

“I’m not saying that they’re entitled to more right, just the same rights, equal rights,” Khawam added.

Senator Scott, who supports the military, remains noncommittal.

“On his side and his family’s side you’ve got to make sure that they’re taken care of, on the other side you’ve got to make sure that the taxpayer can afford to do it,” Senator Scott explained.

“Supporting our troops means supporting their health care, supporting their lives, making sure that they are provided the same equal protections we all have,” Khawam stated.

Senator Rubio’s office told 8 On Your Side weeks ago that it was looking into this issue. Since then we’ve heard nothing.

If you know of something that you think should be investigated call our 8 On Your Side Helpline at 1 800 338-0808.

Contact Steve Andrews at sandrews@wfla.com

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