A Special Forces Soldier is dying of terminal cancer that went unnoticed by the US military, and the military’s response was that “things happen.”
Now, the Green Beret is going before Congress in an attempt to find a way for active duty personnel to sue the military for medical malpractice, something that has been forbidden by law since the 1950s.
Sergeant First Class Richard Stayskal has endured much in his life- from passing Special Forces selection to being awarded a Purple Heart, he’s always overcome his challenges.
Unfortunately, thanks to an oversight by doctors at Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, he will not win his final battle against something that they could have detected early on- cancer.
“My government is basically, to me, in my opinion, telling me, ‘You’re less than everybody else,'” Stayskal said recently before members of Congress.
In between radiation treatments, the Green Beret is speaking with Congressional leaders in order to find a way around the 1950 Supreme Court ruling called the “Feres Doctrine,” which bars suing the military for malpractice while on active duty.
According to FOX46, he currently has the backing of two Republicans and a Democrat.
Womack doctors failed to detect the Soldier’s cancer six months prior to a civilian doctor finding it, which resulted in the tumors growing double in size.
When the tumors were discovered, the military doctors didn’t seem to care that they had committed such a heinous oversight, with one colonel simply telling Staysal that “things happen, I don’t know what to tell you.”
Stayskal will eventually succumb to the terminal illness, but not before he tries to leave an indelible mark on what he feels to be an unjust practice.
“It’s always worth the effort,” he said. “There’s nothing that’s not worth the effort if you believe in it.”
Lawmakers involved with his case say that there may be a way to prevent this from happening again, though it may take some time.
Womack Army Medical Center released a canned statement to FOX46 following the publishing of their article.
“We are committed to the delivery of safe, quality, accessible and patient-centered care for those in our charge and their families,” Colonel John Melton wrote. “Though we are unable to discuss specifics regarding any particular case due to privacy protections, we are required to identify, analyze and appropriately report unanticipated outcomes. This process reduces risk to patients and improves the quality of care.”
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