Dying of cancer, this Green Beret has one last mission: Getting Congress to fight for military medical malpractice reform

"You think you're limited on time? You ought to talk to me about limited time."

Analysis

Sgt. 1st Class Richard Stayskal is dying.

The 38-year-old Green Beret's cancer was missed by Army care providers in 2017, and is now terminal. For the last year he's been fighting to change a decades-old legal rule known as the Feres Doctrine, which bars Stayskal and his family from suing the government for the alleged medical malpractice.

That's why, on Sept. 9 and 10, instead of being home in Pinehurst, North Carolina, with his wife and two daughters, Stayskal was in Washington, D.C. trying to drum up support for his namesake legislation, the SFC Richard Stayskal Military Medical Accountability Act, which would allow service members to sue the government for certain medical malpractice incidents.

Over two days, Stayskal and his attorney, Natalie Khawam, visited the offices of eight senators — Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), John Neely Kennedy (R-La.), Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

They had face time with none of them.

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On Tuesday Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) introduced bipartisan legislation that would allow service members to sue the government for military medical malpractice.

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(U.S. Army photo)

NORFOLK, Va. -- They called it Operation Tossed Salad and the hasty plan, concocted over several hours at various clubs in Bamako, Mali, was to haze an Army Green Beret.

Instead, Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar died sometime in the early morning of June 4, 2017, after four special operators broke into his room while he was sleeping, taped him up, placed him in a chokehold, then tried to cover up their actions. On Monday, a Navy SEAL and Marine Raider, the last of four service members currently charged in the case, made their first court appearances in front a preliminary hearing officer at Naval Station Norfolk, who will help determine whether there is enough evidence for the military to pursue the case.

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(U.S. Army photo)

A Navy SEAL and a Marine Raider charged with murder in connection with the hazing death of Special Forces Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar are scheduled to appear at an Article 32 hearing on Aug. 5, Navy officials have announced.

Navy Special Operations Chief Tony DeDolph and Gunnery Sgt. Mario Madera-Rodriguez are accused of taking part in the June 2017 assault on Melgar in Bamako, Mali.

The Washington Post previously reported that four U.S. troops, a British special operator, and a Malian security guard intended to bind Melgar and make a video of him being sexually assaulted.

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On July 17, Army Sgt. 1st Class Richard Stayskal briefly met with President Donald Trump at a rally in Greenville, North Carolina to discuss the eponymous legislation that would finally allow victims of military medical malpractice to sue the U.S. government.

A Green Beret with terminal lung cancer, Stayskal has spent the last year fighting to change the Feres Doctrine, a 1950 Supreme Court precedent that bars service members like him from suing the government for negligence or wrongdoing.

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The Pentagon has identified the soldier who died in Afghanistan on Saturday as Sgt. Maj. James G. "Ryan" Sartor, a member of 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne).

Sartor, 40, of Teague, Texas, was a Special Forces company sergeant major on his seventh combat deployment.

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