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New Medical Malpractice Bill Passes in New York

Both houses of the New York state legislature approved a new bill that would make sweeping changes to medical malpractice laws in the state, extending the time patients have to file a lawsuit after a misdiagnosis or mistreatment for cancer.

The measure passed Tuesday, January 30, in both the Senate and Assembly, days after Gov. Andrew Cuomo and leaders of the state legislature endorsed it.

The bill was given the moniker “Lavern’s Law” after Lavern Wilkinson, who died in 2013 after a missed cancer diagnosis. Now, the statute of limitations for filing lawsuits for a missed cancer diagnosis is two-and-a-half years — double the previous 15 months. The new bill gives cancer patients who are victims of malpractice a greater window to seek compensation for the harm done to them.

The different forms of medical practice

The bill as passed only applies to misdiagnoses or failure to diagnose in cancer cases. Other forms of medical malpractice will maintain their same statute of limitations for the foreseeable future. These types of malpractice include:

  • General misdiagnosis/failure to diagnose: When a doctor negligently either provides an incorrect diagnosis or fails to make a diagnosis altogether.
  • Surgical errors: Common examples of surgical errors include operating on the wrong body part, performing an unnecessary surgery or leaving surgical tools inside the body.
  • Prescription errors: Common prescription errors include incorrect dosages, failure to prescribe medication or the prescription of the wrong medication.

If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence of a doctor or other healthcare professional, meet with an experienced Long Island medical malpractice attorney at Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia, LLP