Green Beret with cancer wants gov’t held accountable, seeks support from veterans groups

8 On Your Side

Army doctors twice failed to notify him of a spot on his lung

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Between treatments at Moffitt Cancer Center, Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Rich Stayskal wages another campaign.

He trudged to Washington, D.C. again, seeking support to change a law that prevents him and other active-duty personnel from suing military doctors for malpractice.

“It’s a long task and it’s a hard task sometimes but it’s one that I need to do and I feel it’s a very important issue for our military,” Rich said.

A bill with Rich’s name on it provides active-duty military the same rights that convicted prisoners and undocumented workers enjoy in this country – the right to hold doctors accountable in court. But it is sitting stalled in the Senate.

Rich and Tampa attorney Natalie Khawam met with and are seeking support from the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion and Military Officers Association of America.

Army doctors failed to inform Rich about a spot on his lung.

Rushed to a civilian hospital, doctors discovered Stage 3 cancer.

A current law, known as the Feres Doctrine, prevents him from suing those doctors.

Florida Senator Rick Scott, a Navy veteran, touts his support for our troops.

“We’ve met with him so he knows about the issue. You know, we’re just waiting to hear back that he’s going to fully support us,” Rich explained.

They met in July. Rich hasn’t heard from Senator Scott since then.

8 On Your Side sent an email to Senator Scott’s office asking if he was on board or not.

Press Secretary Sarah Schwirian sent us the following statement:

“Senator Scott was honored to meet with Sgt. Richard Stayskal and listen to his heartbreaking story. As a member of the United States Senate Committee on Armed Services, Senator Scott continues to work with his colleagues to understand what can be done to help Sgt. Stayskal and his family.”

Not a yes. Not a no.

If you know of something that should be investigated, call our 8 On Your Side helpline at 1-800-338-0808 or contact Steve Andrews via email at sandrews@wfla.com

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