Senate takes on bill named after Fort Bragg soldier battling lung cancer

FAYETTEVILLE (WTVD) -- Despite fighting terminal cancer, Fort Bragg soldier Sgt. 1st Class Richard Stayskal continues his fight for change.

On Tuesday, a bill named after Stayskal was introduced in the Senate that would allow service members to sue the government for military medical malpractice. It's called The SFC Richard Stayskal Military Medical Accountability Act of 2019. This bipartisan proposed companion bill includes provisions to the Feres Doctrine, a nearly 70-year-old legal rule that prevents active-duty soldiers from suing for medical malpractice. Stayskal's attorney Natalie Khawam added, "We want to thank all those who support our Troops and sponsored our bill. Richard and I will continue to fight for the rights of our men and women who bravely served our country."

In December, we first told Stayskal's fight to change the Feres Doctrine. The Purple Heart recipient is stationed at Fort Bragg and lives in Pinehurst with his wife, Megan, and two daughters. He has stage four lung cancer.

It's a cancer diagnosis that he said should have been caught earlier but was missed by military doctors at Womack Army Medical Center during a routine physical in January 2017. After that physical, Stayskal's health declined, and it wasn't until he saw a civilian specialist off base where he was given the grim diagnosis.

We were with Stayskal as he took his fight to lawmakers in Washington. They listened and proposed The Sergeant First Class Richard Stayskal Military Medical Accountability Act of 2019. Provisions of that act are now included in the House's defense bill that passed in July.

Besides the Stayskal Act being proposed in the Senate today, Stayskal was also recognized by Congresswoman Jackie Speier's (CA-14), who sponsored the Stayskal Act in the House.

It's not known when Stayskal will be back in DC to continue his fight. Khawam tells us Stayskal cancer spread to his neck and he will be undergoing surgery and treatment over the next few weeks.
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