BROOKLYN, NEW YORK — Kostantinos Mallas, Partner, Georgaklis & Mallas PLLC, says making “Lavern’s Law” a reality will mean that cancer patients who were misdiagnosed may now have more time to seek justice against the physicians and/or hospitals who did not properly determine it was cancer.
On January 29, 2018, the governor met with New York State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and New York State Assembly Majority Leader Carl Heastie to work out the details of the bill, which was sponsored by New York State Senator John DeFrancisco. As part of the agreement, the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit would be changed from two-and-a-half years from the date that the misdiagnosis occurred to two-and-a-half years from the date the patient learned of the misdiagnosis, up to seven years from the date that the medical error occurred. On February 2, 2018, the governor signed the bill into law.
The bill is named for Lavern Wilkinson, who died of cancer on March 7, 2013. She was admitted to Kings County Hospital on February 2, 2010 for chest pains; an X-ray showed a cancerous mass in her chest, but the radiologist failed to alert Ms. Wilkinson of the discovery. Ms. Wilkinson was readmitted to the hospital in 2012, but, by that time, the cancer had already spread to her body. Her family attempted to sue the hospital after she passed away, but, at the time, the statute of limitations had expired.
“We are glad to see these elected officials come together and fight for the rights of the patients whose misdiagnoses resulted in illness or death after the cancer spread throughout their bodies,” Mr. Mallas says. “This bill will give these cancer victims more time to file lawsuits against the wrongdoers.”
The original version of the bill applied to all medical malpractice cases. That version passed the Assembly in 2015, but did not make it out of the Senate. The new bill only applies to cancer victims. “Had the original version of Lavern’s Law passed, more patients who were misdiagnosed or received poor medical treatment could have gotten the compensation they justly deserved,” Mr. Mallas says. “It is a shame the bill did not make it to the governor’s desk sooner.”
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