Victims' advocates groups push for new medical malpractice law

Cancer is something no Garden City resident wants to hear they have. A cancer diagnosis can turn a person's world upside down. But, if the cancer is misdiagnosed, it can be an even more devastating.

Patients' rights advocates are pushing Governor Cuomo to sign a bill to make it easier for those who have suffered from misdiagnosed cancer to sue for medical malpractice. Over 60 groups sent a letter to Governor Cuomo to back the law called Lavern's Law. It would change the window of when a victim can file a medical malpractice case based on when the error was discovered, not when the mistake occurred, which is the current law.

Currently, a person who finds out they have misdiagnosed cancer can file a lawsuit within two and a half years of when the misdiagnosis occurred. Under the Lavern's Law bill, victims can file a lawsuit within two and a half years of when the misdiagnosis was discovered. The law is named after Lavern Wilkinson, who died of a curable form of lung cancer but was misdiagnosed. By the time she sued, the window of opportunity to file had expired. New York is one of six states that does not have a "date of discovery" law.

Families who have been the victim of a cancer misdiagnosis know how devastating this can be for families. Cancer misdiagnosis happens all too frequently, and subjects patients to unnecessary treatments or the wrong treatments. It can lead to years of unnecessary suffering, and even death. A legal professional who is skilled in medical malpractice can help their client who may be facing a misdiagnosis. They can investigate medical records and determine what happened to cause the misdiagnosis. Compensation may be available for medical expenses, future medical expenses, pain and suffering and other damages.

Source:, "Patients rights groups push Cuomo to back Lavern's Law, helping misdiagnosed cancer victims", Kenneth Lovett, Oct. 23, 2017

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