WASHINGTON, D.C. - After 13 months of sharing his story, speaking to lawmakers and fighting for justice, a terminally ill NC soldier will soon see his hard work come to fruition.
Sfc. Richard Stayskal took a bullet for his country, but found his toughest fight was with the medical care system.
The Green Beret who earned a Purple Heart has been working tirelessly to get legislation on the table that would allow active-duty soldiers to sue the military for medical malpractice.
Stayskal has been fighting for this bill because he was misdiagnosed by a military doctor. He was told he had pneumonia and sent on his way after a check-up, but six months later, a civilian doctor said it was lung cancer. Stayskal's cancer is now stage four terminal and he wants the right to sue the military for their mistake.
On Thursday, Stayskal once again walked the halls of Congress which have become something a second home over the past year.
"You've committed your life to serving this country and here you are one more time," Rep. Richard Hudson (R-Concord) said. "I'm just so happy for the Stayskal family and for all of our service members who now can enjoy the same civil rights everybody does."
No longer lobbying but instead celebrating, a day after the House passed a measure stemming from a series of FOX 46 investigations that will allocate $400 million over the next 10 years to pay out military medical malpractice claims, something currently prevented under a 1950 Supreme Court ruling called the Feres Doctrine.
Rich and Hudson
Stayskal is hoping his victory on Capitol Hill will improve care and help others soldiers who’ve been wronged.
"Sometimes good things come out of terrible things and this is just one of them so I’m pretty excited right now," Stayskal said.
Joining Stayskal on Capitol Hill were his wife Megan and attorney Natalie Khawam.
"Unbelievably proud, just his determination, his drive, his work ethic it just shines through in this moment," Megan Stayskal said.
FOX 46's investigations into Stayskal’s botched care when doctors misdiagnosed his lung cancer and his inability to hold anyone accountable struck a bipartisan nerve.
"It is a Christmas mircale that his legislation was included in the National Defense Authorization Act," said Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), who introduced Stayskal’s Feres Doctrine bill earlier this year.
Stayskal says he plans to be in Washington D.C. when the Senate votes on the NDAA, as early as next week. It's expected to be signed into law before Christmas.