This story is developing because legislation changes all the time. However, for this post, we will talk about one piece of legislation—a really specific piece of legislation, that was put into effect January 2018. After reading this post, it'll surprise you that laws did not already exist to prevent this from happening.
Lavern Wilkinson went in to the hospital in Brooklyn, New York, complain of chest pains in 2010. Not taken seriously, lung cancer ended up taking her life. If the technicians and other medical health professionals had looked at her and determined the cause of her pain, they would have caught the cancer that had started to develop in her lungs. She would go undiagnosed and Lavern would end up dying in 2013 from undiagnosed lung cancer.
This is outrageous. What is even more outrageous is the law that controls medical malpractice lawsuits. In the state of New York, the statute of limitations does not start when the patient notices that something is wrong. It starts at the time of the surgery or lack of diagnosis. For Lavern, she was not diagnosed until the statute of limitations ran out for her. At the time of 2010-2013, the statute of limitations was that the patient had 2 ½ years to notice a mistake. It worked like this: If you have surgery on your back on June 20, 2018 then you have until January 20, 2020 to file a lawsuit. Then say that you discover that something went wrong with your surgery on January 21, 2020. Under this statute of limitations law, you would be out of luck. No exceptions.
Change in the Law
There has been much backlash about the statute of limitations in New York. Governor Cuomo has signed a new law that would-be plaintiffs have seven years to discover an error. Then an additional two and a half years to take legal action. How great is that! It not only gives possible plaintiffs enough time to uncover a mistake that a doctor may have made but the clock doesn't start ticking until they have an opportunity to investigate and hire legal counsel!
There is one downside of this piece of legislation. As of now, this legislation only covers those that are cancer patients. This legislation has not impacted other areas of medical malpractice.But at least they are on the right track.
Medical malpractice comes in all shapes and sizes. Each case is unique and here at George Tait Law we take pride in making sure you don't feel alone.