JAMES CLARK IS A SENIOR REPORTER WHO COVERS VETERANS, CULTURE AND ENTERTAINMENT FOR TASK AND PURPOSE. A FORMER MARINE CORPS COMBAT CORRESPONDENT AND VETERAN OF THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN, YOU CAN FOLLOW HIM ON TWITTER AT @JAMESWCLARK OR REACH HIM VIA EMAIL AT JAMES@TASKANDPURPOSE.COM.
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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."
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.
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.
A new report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and MetLife indicates that a lot of small businesses may want to hire veterans, but only one in 10 have actively done so.