Forty-two-year-old Lavern Wilkinson died in 2013 of a curable form of lung cancer. Her death was completely preventable in that doctors at Kings County Hospital misread her EKG and chest x-rays, saying that were normal. They advised Wilkinson to take Motrin for pain.
What the chest X-ray did show, however, was a suspicious nodule in Wilkinson’s right lung that was suspicious. The radiologist who saw Wilkinson recommended that she be given a follow-up X-ray in three months, and if “clinical concern warrants, a CT scan is suggested.”
Lavern Wilkinson, however, was never provided with this information that could have saved her life. Instead, Wilkinson suffered with a chronic cough and breathing difficulties that were attributed to asthma. No doctor referred to the X-ray that showed the suspicious mass.
It was only when Wilkinson returned to the hospital emergency room in May 2012 that she learned that she had stage-4 lung cancer with only six months to live. If she had been treated two years earlier in 2010 when the x-ray showed the suspicious mass, the disease would have been curable.
Because of current laws in the state of New York, Wilkerson was barred from suing the hospital because the law requires claims of medical malpractice against public hospitals be filed within 15 months after they happen rather than when a patient is first aware of any medical mistakes made by doctors or healthcare providers. Local media exposed her tragic story and it was then that the city awarded Wilkinson $625,000.If she had been allowed to file a malpractice lawsuit, some legal experts estimate that Wilkinson would likely have been awarded between $8 to $10 million.
Sadly, Wilkinson’s case is not the only one of its kind. Other patients have found that serious health issues such as liver and breast cancer have been overlooked by physicians and healthcare providers only to find out years later about such devastating mistakes.
Lavern’s Law proposes to start the statute of limitations from the time a patient discovers the malpractice rather than from the time the medical malpractice occurs. Though both legislators and the Governor Cuomo support the bill, Republican Senate Majority Leader, John Flanagan, has not said whether he’ll allow Lavern’s Law to be brought to a vote.
Patients are right to expect excellence from their doctors and other healthcare professionals. Health care providers such as doctors and nurses are held to a set of standards just as any other professional is. Such standards of care insure that every patient gets the best care possible. When this is not provided to patients, that is when the services of an experienced malpractice attorney are essential.
If you or a loved one believes they have suffered as a result of medical malpractice, contact the law offices of Bottar Leone, PLLC today. We will take the time to carefully evaluate your claim. One of our attorneys can then begin the process of getting you and your loved ones the compensation you deserve. Call us today for a free consultation and legal analysis.