Sgt. 1st Class Richard Stayskal survived three combat deployments to Iraq and even an enemy bullet through the chest. But now the dying Purple Heart recipient says he’s enduring one of the toughest fights of his life: the right to sue the U.S. government for medical malpractice.
“This isn’t about the money. This is about accountability. You can’t say whoops and play with people’s lives and say nothing can be done,” Stayskal, who is stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, told Fox News. “Right now, I am being deprived of my rights as a U.S. citizen. An inmate can sue for medical malpractice, but as a member of our military, I cannot.”
The now 37-year-old’s ordeal began in January 2017 as he was preparing to head to dive school and was ordered to have a CT scan, given the wound he suffered in Iraq about 13 years earlier.
“I was having a little trouble breathing, some coughing and wheezing but I passed the test just fine,” he recalled.
Only his symptoms quickly started to become worse.
The ensuing six months, Stayskal said, brought a series of medical mishaps, including being misdiagnosed with pneumonia, shuffled among a variety of doctors and dismissed from the emergency room — despite having a notable mass on his lung, throat bleeding and excruciating pain.