Army Reserve Captain and Mother of Two Alleges She Suffered Military Misdiagnosis of Cancer

According to the Tampa Bay Times, Jessica Purcell, a captain in the Army Reserve, was pregnant with her first child when she first noticed a swollen lymph node under her left arm. After seeking care at a MacDill Air Force Base clinic in 2017, health-care providers told Purcell that it was likely an infection or something related to pregnancy hormones, and not to worry. Then, in August of 2018, Purcell underwent a scan at MacDill, this time for a lump that formed in her breast, and was told that the lymph node under her arm looked resolved. 

Purcell, however, decided to see a civilian doctor, who diagnosed the mass as stage 2 breast cancer after a biopsy and scan. At this point, Purcell’s daughter had just turned 1 and she was pregnant with her second child. Purcell wondered, “How, within days, are there two different results?”

Purcell knew a bit about the Feres doctrine and that any claim for medical malpractice would be barred. She said, “You’re taking all the accountability out, and it’s completely unfair.” However, her brother shared the news with her about Army Sgt. 1st Class Richard Stayskal, and his fight to add a military medical malpractice provision to the National Defense Authorization Act, which allowed her to bring a claim. 

Now, Purcell’s claim has been filed, and she is on medical leave from work at the U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill. She spends her time with her 2-year-old daughter and 10-month-old son. Her cancer has progressed to stage 4 and spread throughout her body. She’s on chemo pills and will remain in treatment for the rest of her life. “My kids will never know me without cancer,” she said.

Military Misdiagnosis and How We Can Help

Unlike most attorneys across the nation, our attorneys have experience with military medical malpractice cases brought under both the MCA (Military Claims Act) and FTCA (Federal Tort Claims Act). A founding partner of Military Medical Malpractice Attorneys, Bruce J. Klores has recovered over 40 million dollars for military families and has taught both medicine and medical malpractice litigation to military and civilian lawyers. Scott Perry, another founding partner of Military Medical Malpractice Attorneys, has obtained 46 million dollars in medical malpractice verdicts, in 2019 alone.

Our experienced attorneys have the unique knowledge and skills necessary to successfully represent active-duty members and their families with military medical malpractice claims.

If you or a loved has experienced an injury due to military misdiagnosis, contact our attorneys for a consultation.