Green Beret SFC Richard Stayskal called it a “Christmas Miracle.” 

The Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act with an 86-8 vote on Tuesday. However, inside the bill is a provision, initiated by Stayskal, which will allow service members who have been victims of negligent medical care to finally be allowed to hold the government accountable. 

The provision sets aside for the first time $400 million for the DOD to investigate and compensate military medical malpractice claims. Service members, such as Stayskal have been denied the ability to hold doctors accountable until now.

But military members will still not be allowed to sue the Federal Government for damages, even though they’ll be allowed to seek damages and have medical malpractice claims investigated.

“Everyone involved in this conference, including the Department of Defense,” said Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), “recognized the importance of fixing the medical malpractice issue in a common-sense fashion.”

“It’s a huge relief to know there’s better accountability,” Stayskal said in a television interview. “That service members are getting what they deserve. I’m hoping everybody’s going to share the joy [sic] us right now and the happiness that’s deserved for all the ones that feel left behind or forgotten about over the years.”

Natalie Khawam, Stayskal’s attorney, wrote: “We did the impossible!”

SFC Stayskal’s story began in 2017 when army doctors at Womack Army Hospital misdiagnosed his lung cancer as pneumonia. This delayed the treatment which could have saved his life. He’s now in Stage 4 with lung cancer.