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President Trump signs bill that allows active-duty military to sue for malpractice

8 On Your Side

Congressman credits 8 On Your Side with helping to get bill passed

WASHINGTON D.C. (WFLA) – It was a big day for Sgt. 1st Class Richard Stayskal.

The $378 billion dollar defense spending bill contains a provision allowing active-duty military to sue the government for negligence when its doctors commit malpractice.

“Everyone should be held accountable for their mistakes,” said Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R) Fla.

“It’s just an amazing feeling that finally, you know there’s change, that accountability is going to be better,” Sgt. Stayskal explained,

In 2017 Army doctors, twice failed to inform Rich of a spot they discovered on his lung.

“That’s such gross malpractice,” Rich’s attorney Natalie Khawam stated.

Rushed to a civilian hospital 6 months later, coughing up blood, Rich learned he had stage 3 cancer.

A 70-year-old Supreme Court ruling known as the Feres Doctrine banned Rich and other active-duty military from suing the government for negligence.

Rich teamed up with Tampa attorney Natalie Khawam, who asked us to help tell his story.

8 On Your Side aired more than a dozen stories during the last 10 months, poking and prodding members of Congress to announce where they stood on the issue.

Last week the House passed the defense spending bill which contains the change for which Rich Stayskal fought for and this week the Senate passed it.

“It’s really a tremendous victory for our military, and again I give you great credit for it,” Congressman Bilirakis said.

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


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