Serving in the military is definitely a career choice that comes with some risks. And it is reasonable that a soldier would not be able to file a claim for an injury received on the battlefield. A new law that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2020 in Maryland and in the rest of the country does allow for filing claims against military doctors for negligence or medical malpractice.
The first claim came from the man for whom the legislation was named, Richard Stayskal. He is suffering from stage 4 lung cancer and claims that the illness could have been detected and treated sooner. He underwent a routine physical at Womack Army Medical Center in 2017. The cancer went undetected. His health declined following that exam and he consulted a civilian physician who diagnosed the cancer.
After his diagnosis, Stayskal led the fight in Washington to allow members of the military to file claims against military doctors. The Feres Doctrine had prevented that until he helped change the law. Between cancer treatments, he led the battle to pass the Sergeant First Class Richard Stayskal Military Medical Accountability Act of 2019. His claim asks for damages related to pain and suffering, shortened life expectancy and physical impairment. Now that the law has changed and Stayskal’s attorney filed the lawsuit, the Department of Defense is investigating the claim.
While members of the military understand that they put their lives on the line for their country when in battle, they also have a right to expect professional care from the medical providers who are charged with their care away from the battlefield. A person in Maryland who believes they may have reason to question a medical outcome from a military provider may wish to consult with a personal injury attorney who is familiar with the new law. A knowledgeable lawyer can review the facts of the case and advise the client as to whether a medical malpractice claim may be an option.