Jessica Purcell of St. Petersburg, a captain in the Army Reserve, was pregnant with son Jameson when she was told at a MacDill Air Force Base clinic not to worry about lumps under her arm. She now is diagnosed stage 4 cancer. Jameson is 10 months old. (Tampa Bay Times/Scott Keeler via Tribune News Service)

Jessica Purcell, a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve, was pregnant with her first child when she noticed a swollen lymph node in her left underarm.

Health-care providers at a MacDill Air Force Base clinic told her it was likely an infection or something related to pregnancy hormones. The following year they determined the issue had resolved itself.

It hadn't. A doctor off base found a large mass in her underarm and gave her a shocking diagnosis: stage 2 breast cancer.

Purcell was pregnant again. Her daughter had just turned 1. She was 35. And she had no right to sue for malpractice.

A 1950 Supreme Court ruling known as the Feres doctrine prohibits military members like Purcell from filing a lawsuit against the federal government for any injuries suffered while on active duty. That includes injury in combat, but also rape and medical malpractice, such as missing a cancer diagnosis.

Thanks in part to Tampa lawyer Natalie Khawam, a provision in this year's national defense budget allows those in active duty to file medical malpractice claims against the government for the first time since the Feres case.

With the Department of Defense overseeing the new claims process, the question now is how fairly and timely complaints will be judged. And whether, in the long run, this new move will help growing efforts to overturn the ruling and allow active duty members to sue like everyone else.

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(DoD photo)

A man awaiting trial on charges of stealing almost $17,000 from an American Legion post in Scranton now stands accused of a different kind of theft.

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A OH-6A Cayuse light helicopter at the Royal International Air Tattoo in Gloucestershire in July 2019. (Flickr Creative/Steve Lynes)

The light helicopter that reportedly went missing from Fort Hood over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend wasn't actually missing after all.

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Audie Murphy (U.S. Army photo)

Editor's note: a version of this post first appeared in 2018

On January 26, 1945, the most decorated U.S. service member of World War II earned his legacy in a fiery fashion.

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U.S. Army/Staff Sgt. Daniel Schroeder, Army Talent Management Task Force

If you ask the Army chief, the new Battalion Commander Assessment Program (BCAP) is comparable to the National Football League Combine — and so far, things are going swimmingly.

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U.S. Army Paratroopers assigned to 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, board an Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft during a deployment readiness exercise at Green Ramp on Pope Army Airfield, North Carolina, April 27, 2019. (U.S. Army photo by Pvt. Chantel Green)

Paratroopers from Fort Bragg's 82nd Airborne Division will be protecting the U.S. Embassy in Iraq, officials said.

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