Green Beret Misdiagnosed, Now Dying From Cancer

The military medical profession may soon be operating under a different set of parameters. The Richard Stayskal Bill has passed the House and it has been forwarded to the U.S. Senate. It is part of the National Defense Authorization Act, which is the annual Pentagon policy bill.

This bill, should it pass the Senate, will overturn the Feres Doctrine, a 1950 Supreme Court ruling that forbids active-duty military soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines from suing the federal government for medical malpractice and negligence. 

The Feres Doctrine was initially put in place to protect military doctors who were treating combat casualties. Doctors in those positions have to make split-second decisions in order to save the lives of troops wounded in combat. 

This newest legislation isn’t going to change that. Doctors treating soldiers wounded in combat and taking measures to save their lives will still be afforded that protection. But doctors who are treating troops for other medical conditions may soon be held accountable in a court of law where troops may be allowed to sue for medical malpractice. 

This legislation is named after SFC Richard Stayskal. Stayskal is a Green Beret at Ft. Bragg. Stayskal was wounded by a sniper in Iraq in 2004 when a bullet tore through his chest and lung. He kept the round that was removed from his lung as a reminder of how fragile life is. Little did he know how prophetic that would be.

Thirteen years later, Stayskal was getting ready to take on the Special Forces Combat Diver Course in Key West, FL. Because of his old bullet wound, he was required to undergo a CT scan to ensure that his lung that had been injured wouldn’t be an issue when conducting underwater operations. 

During the CT scan, no one noticed a small mass on his right lung, which turned out to be a tumor that at that time was about an inch in diameter. A few months later, Stayskal would experience troubles sleeping, and said that when he would wake up he would feel like he was drowning.

In May of 2017, Stayskal’s condition became critical. He was rushed to the Womack Hospital Emergency Room by ambulance. He was having severe chest pain, wheezing and felt dizzy. His wife, Megan, met him there. His wife was alarmed that the attending doctors had to “crackdown on his chest to get him to pop his eyes open. Why is he not breathing,” she worried?