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New act opens up options for military malpractice victims

In an interesting change of events, service members are now able to seek compensation for medical malpractice that takes place in military hospitals, according to a report from Feb. 11.

A new federal act, called the Richard Stayskal Military Medical Accountability Act, became a law on Jan. 1. This act was signed as a part of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act.

Richard Stayskal brought his concerns to a congressional hearing, showing that he had tried for months to receive care for shortness of breath, coughing up blood and chest pains. It wasn't until he went to a civilian provider that his condition was diagnosed: Stage 3 lung cancer. By 2018, that had advanced to Stage 4, essentially leaving him with a terminal illness. Earlier recognition of the condition may have allowed for treatment since he repeatedly sought help throughout 2017, a year earlier.

This act, created with this man's name, now allows the military members to file claims against the military if they suffer medical malpractice. Previously, the Feres Doctrine had prohibited military members from holding the government liable for injuries suffered during their time in service.

Today, military members have options. If you're in the military and suffer from a surgical error, for example, you can now file a claim with the Department of Defense. Then, you can ask for the case to be reviewed and to determine if any mistakes were made. In the case that malpractice is found, compensation can be determined and awarded.

If you're hurt by a medical error, it shouldn't matter who you are; you deserve to speak up and seek compensation for the mistakes that were made.

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