FOX 46 investigation credited as 'nucleus' to Feres Doctrine bill

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A FOX 46 investigation into military malpractice was the "nucleus" to a bill that was filed in Washington on Tuesday, according to the soldier who testified before Congress and his attorney. 

"It had all the impact," said attorney Natalie Khawam, referring to a FOX 46 investiation that first aired six months ago. "It was the nucleus to this whole bill." 

On Tuesday, Sfc. Richard Stayskal testified before Congress, something that seemed like a "pipe dream" when he first shared his story with FOX 46.

He credits FOX 46 for getting results.

"When I first shared this story with Matt Grant, FOX 46, who I can't thank enough for taking the time to hear us out and share our story," said Stayskal, "it back then it just seemed like a pipe dream."

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) filed a bill, named after the North Carolina Green Beret, who has stage four terminal lung cancer. Stayskal's cancer was misdiagnosed by doctors at Womack Army Medical Center in 2017 as pneumonia. It was detected by a civilian doctor six months later. The gap in treatment allowed the cancer to spread. 

The bill would allow soldiers the right to sue for medical malpractice, something that is now allowed because of a 1950 Supreme Court decision known as the Feres Doctrine. 

"It's honorable our Congress is listening and hearing our voices and willing to make changes," said Stayskal. 

"So proud of him," said his wife, Megan. "And so honored FOX 46 aired this story first and you, Matt Grant, have been there very step of the way with us." 

Critics of the Feres Doctrine testified that civilians and even prisoners can sue when their doctors make a mistake while those in uniform serving our country can't. 

"The hardest thing I have to do is explain to my children when they ask me, 'This doesn't make sense, how is this happening,'" Stayskal told lawmakers, "and I have no good answer to give them."

What he is giving is one last fight. 

"It's great to know I'm helping others," said Stayskal. "It's all I've ever wanted to do in my life."