In spite of overwhelming bipartisan support in the State Assembly and sponsorship by a majority of the State Senate, and endorsement by Governor Andrew Cuomo, the bill known as Lavern’s Law was prevented from ever coming to a vote this summer by the Senate majority leader, John J. Flanagan, (R). The move has effectively killed a bill that would redress a lack of fairness for patients in medical malpractice cases.
The bill is named after a Brooklyn woman, Lavern Wilkinson, who had a highly curable form of lung cancer. However, because her condition was untreated because doctors at Kings County Hospital failed to alert her to a suspicious mass noted on an X-ray taken three years earlier, the cancer reached an advanced stage where it was no longer curable. Lavern Wilkinson died as a result.
Lavern’s daughter, who has severe medical issues of her own, was prevented from bringing a lawsuit against the physicians and the hospital for their negligence because in New York a victim has only two and a half years from the time that a medical mistake is made to file a lawsuit rather than from the time in which an error or mistake is discovered. While 44 states in the United States have laws on the books that would allow a patient or their family to bring suit, New York does not. Lavern’s Law would have made the State of New York the 45th state to make such a provision.
Those who are opposed to Lavern’s Law were concerned that passage of the bill would have resulted in more medical malpractice cases being filed in the state of New York. While it is possible that there would be some increase in the number of malpractice lawsuits filed, only a very small number would fall outside the statute of limitations.
Every patient under a doctor’s care has the right to expect a certain standard of care in their treatment. Doctors and medical professionals must adhere to this standard of care. However, there are times when a physician or surgeon will deviate from that standard. That is when incidents of malpractice can occur.
Because medical malpractice claims filed against a doctor or hospital is a complicated area of law, such cases more often than not require legal professionals that have experience in this specialized area of law.
At Bottar Leone, PLLC, our medical malpractice and medical negligence attorneys have represented thousands of patients and their families from all walks of life for nearly 30 years in the State of New York.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to medical malpractice, contact us today. We will rigorously evaluate your case, inform you of your rights, and discuss with you the potential of receiving compensation for medical expenses, rehabilitative care, loss of income, and pain and suffering.