Fort Liberty soldier's medical malpractice claim denied: 'Fight is not over'

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Tuesday, October 24, 2023
Fort Liberty soldier's medical malpractice claim denied
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Master Sg. Richard Stayskal who has stage 4 lung cancer, says his malpractice fight is not over. He is heading back to DC to fight for the Hero Act.

Appeal denied, that's the latest in an ABC11 Troubleshooter investigation involving a Fort Liberty solider who fought for change for all service members.

This denial is another major blow to Master Sgt. Richard Stayskal, who has been fighting for justice after military doctors missed a lung cancer diagnosis.

Stayskal says, "In the easiest of terms, it's just you're still alive. So there's nothing that we could have done. The outcome was still good. Even though they're still blatantly admitting everything they did was wrong. They're just using the fact that I'm living against me."

This latest denial was handed down by the Defense Health Agency.

ABC11 Troubleshooter Diane Wilson first met Stayskal in 2018 in his Pinehurst home when he shared his fight after doctors at Womack Army Medical Center missed a lung cancer diagnosis. Since then, we've been following the Green Beret's fight to change the Feres Doctrine, which prevented active duty military from filing medical malpractice claims.

In 2019, he won his fight at our nation's capital after lawmakers passed the Stayskal Act, which authorized millions of dollars for the Department of Defense to pay out medical malpractice claims. The Purple Heart recipient was the first to file a claim with the DOD.

Three years later, his claim was denied. Stayskal appealed that decision and just this month, that appeal was also denied.

In the denial letter from the Defense Health Agency, it says although there was a breach in the standard of care Stayskal received. The breach did not change Stayskal's prognosis or opportunity for cure or chance of survival. Stayskal adds, "The upsetting part to me more than the denial is nobody seems to be able to stop them."

As Stayskal battles stage 4 lung cancer, he says his fight is not over. He is heading back to DC to fight for the Hero Act, which is proposed legislation that allows service members to take their medical malpractice claims to district court instead of having the Department of Defense decide the case.

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