Green Beret’s Case Weakens Feres Doctrine, Will Allow Military Members to Receive Compensation for Malpractice Injuries
Sgt. 1st Class Richard Stayskal, served in the military for 14 years and was a member of the Green Berets. He is now fighting stage 4 terminal cancer after his military doctors at Womack Army Medical Center in Fort Bragg misdiagnosed his illness despite noticing a tumor in his lung. Stayskal attempted to sue the Department of Defense for medical malpractice but was met with the Feres doctrine. The law is based on 70-year-old Supreme Court decision that says active-duty military members are not able to make a claim against the government. Luckily, Stayskal’s ongoing fight alongside congressional lawmakers will help change that.
On Monday, December 16, 2019, a final National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was released including an amendment that will allow for members of the country’s armed forces to now file a claim against the U.S. and receive compensation if they were subjected to negligent or wrongful medical treatment at a military facility.
Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif. introduced the new legislation and dubbed it a “historic victory.” According to Speier’s office:
- The government has allotted $400 million over ten years.
- There is no cap for how much a service member can be compensated.
- Family members can file a claim if their loved one has died as a result of the medical malpractice.
- The new provisions within the NDAA are expected to go into effect once the Senate passes the act.
- President Donald Trump is expected to sign off on the NDAA at the end of December.
Stayskal is a 38-year-old father of two daughters, 11 and 9, and from North Carolina. He is a brave American hero for taking on and winning this battle for his family and others.
Servicemen and women make the choice to risk their lives for our country each day. There are likely others who can relate to Stayskal’s struggle when they attempted to claim for medical errors and treatments provided through a U.S. military facility.
Levin & Perconti attorneys continue to support and do all we can to protect our servicemen and women’s rights. In 2018, attorney’s Michael Bonamarte, Margaret Battersby Black and Cari Silverman brought a suit on behalf of the family of a two-tour Vietnam veteran, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. The man died after nurses and paramedics failed to keep him safe in an ambulance transfer from St. James-Olympia Fields hospital to the Edward Hines Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital. A Cook County Circuit Court jury later awarded $7 million to the veteran’s family.
Harmed by Healthcare Mistakes
If you believe that your loved one has suffered an injury or wrongful death due to a negligent failure in care, they may be entitled to compensation. Call us now at (312) 332-2872 for a free consultation with one of our medical malpractice attorneys. We work on a contingent fee basis, so there are no fees for our services unless we successfully resolve your case.