How Lavern’s Law Can Help Cancer Patients

By WRSH on October 26, 2017 - Comments off

medical-781422_1920New York’s legislature recently passed Lavern’s Law. Assuming it is signed into law by Governor Cuomo, it will extend the amount of time cancer patients have to file a medical malpractice claim.

Lavern’s Law, named after a Brooklyn woman named Lavern Wilkinson, does two meaningful things:

 

 

  1. It extends the statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice claim for cancer patients from the current 15 months to 30 months, and
  2. The statute of limitations now begins from the time when a cancer patient becomes aware of a misdiagnosis, rather than from when the actual error was made.

Lavern Wilkinson was X-rayed in 2010 but told she was fine. Three years later, doctors looking at the same X-ray realized she had lung cancer. If caught in 2010, it could have been treated effectively, but in the three years that passed it had spread to her other organs. Lavern died in 2013 at the age of 41. She had been unable to bring a malpractice claim against the hospital that failed to diagnose her cancer because the 15-month statute of limitations had passed since the mistake was made.

How Does the Statute of Limitations Work for Malpractice?

Right now in New York, a patient has only 15 months to file a medical malpractice claim from the date when the error occurred. Even if the patient only finds out about the error two years after it happened, he has no ability to file a claim after 15 months have passed. Once this bill is signed into law, however, cancer patients will have 30 months to file a claim after the mistake is detected.

What Does This Mean for Cancer Patients?

This law has obvious benefits for cancer patients who have suffered from a misdiagnosis, as it allows them to file a malpractice claim even if the error is discovered long after the mistake occurred. More importantly, however, it forces medical professionals to be more careful and pushes for correct diagnoses the first time. Since early detection is so important in cancer treatment, this type of law will hopefully save many lives.

If you or a loved one has suffered due to a misdiagnosis, please call us at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, right now at (212) 986-7353.

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Posted in: Medical Malpractice

 


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