Pentagon, Sen. Graham reject dying Green Beret’s plea for help with changing law

8 On Your Side

Green Beret argues the law discriminates against active duty service members

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Sgt. Rich Stayskal is a battle-hardened warrior. A Marine wounded in war. Now, an Army Green Beret.

Rich spent precious time away from his family again this week when he and his Tampa attorney went to Washington D.C. He hoped to convince Pentagon officials to side with him in his struggle to change a law that prevents active duty service members like him from holding military doctors accountable for their mistakes.

“Even though they did not take a position in support of this, I let them know that we are not going to stop,” Rich’s attorney Natalie Khawam stated.

Stayskal has end-stage lung cancer. Army doctors failed to inform him of a spot on his lung. By the time Rich learned of his disease, it was already Stage 4.

“It absolutely could have been prevented or stopped,” Rich told 8 On Your Side. “It was there, it was documented, it was seen, it was known about.”

Civilians, even prisoners can sue for malpractice. But a law known as the Feres Doctrine prohibits Rich from suing those army doctors responsible.

A bill his attorney helped write would change the law.

“We’re not asking for better care we’re asking for the same care,” Rich explained.

The bill sailed through the House. It stalled in the Senate, where Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) kept it from going forward.

Graham, an Air Force veteran, is a former Judge Advocate General. He contends there is already compensation for those who are killed or injured in the military.

Rich Stayskal is terminal due to an Army doctor’s malpractice and incompetence.

Rich knows the definition of “Leave No Man Behind.” He lived it in Iraq. The question he has is – does Lindsey Graham?

If you know of something that you think should be investigated, call our 8 On Your Side Helpline at 1-800-338-0808. You can also contact Steve Andrews at sandrews@wfla.com

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