TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Rich Stayskal is a Green Beret, one of America’s best.
Sgt. Richard Stayskal is also a victim of military malpractice and justice denied.
While illegal immigrants in this country can sue a doctor for malpractice, Rich and the other 1.3 million active duty servicemembers of America’s armed forces Cannot hold military physicians accountable.
Army doctors did not inform Rich Stayskal that he had a spot on his lung. This happened not once, but twice.
Now Rich and his family are dealing with stage 4 terminal cancer.
“It’s not something I want to think about not only for myself, not for him, but especially for our girls,” Rich’s wife Megan explained.
A federal law, called the Feres Doctrine bars active duty servicemembers from suing the government for injuries that arise from military service.
It was drawn up 70 years ago to protect from litigation, medics and doctors on the battlefield, who made mistakes. Rich was in North Carolina when he was malpracticed.
“Well you know what there’s a lot of bad law out there and a lot of bad laws get fixed,” Rich’s attorney Natalie Khawam said.
Rich told Congress his story earlier this year. The U.S. House voted to change the Feres Doctrine to allow malpractice victims their day in court.
“We already have a system in place, a fair system in place that compensates people for negligent acts by service members,” said former military prosecutor Charles Stimson, now with the Heritage Foundation. “Changes in the Feres Doctrine are unnecessry.”
“Either this comment was made with an agenda to perhaps oprevent our actuve duty military to have a right to legal recourse or he just does not know the law,” Natalie Khawam stated.
Stimson is talking about the Federal Torts Claims Act. It allows private citizens to sue the government for negligence.
But when Rich Stayskal and then Megan filed a claim to sue under the Federal Torts Claims Act, the Army informed them, since Rich was active military, the Feres Doctrine barred them from suing.
“Our active duty are completely barred from being able to pursue malpractice claims, negligence claims even sexual assault claims,” attorney Khawam noted.
Khawam claims the Department of Defense abuses the Feres doctrine allowing bad doctors to go unpunished.
“It’s not fair,” Megan Stayskal said. “It’s not fair, that it was missed and he wasn’t told and there’s a possibility my, our kids will grow up without a father.”
While illegal immigrants hold the right to sue bad doctors, now it is up to the Senate to decide if it will provide active duty service members will have that right too.
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Contact Steve Andrews at email@example.com
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