In New York, a proposed amendment to medical malpractice rules, known as Lavern’s Law, named for Brooklyn mother Lavern Wilkinson, failed to go to vote in the Assembly or the Senate in the 2013 session.
Wilkinson went to the Kings County Hospital in 2010, and physicians did not inform her she had a lung nodule. Because of the lack of information, Wilkinson developed and died from cancer.
The amendment arose when the New York’s statute of limitations did not allow Wilkinson to sue for medical malpractice. Wilkinson died at 41. She had a 15-year-old autistic daughter who depended on her. The lung cancer she had was curable if she was told earlier. Wilkinson died on March 7, 2013 when cancer spread from both her lungs to the rest of her body. Two years before she died, the doctors saw a small mass on her chest X-ray.
Lavern’s Law did not get the support of State Senate leader Dean Skelos, even though 30 senators were ready to vote for the bill. Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein (D-Brooklyn), the bill’s sponsor, put the amendment on hold once it was clear it had no opportunity in the Senate.
Judith Donnell, the attorney who represented Lavern Wilkinson said: “Hopefully it will pass in the new year. It’s not something that should just be buried,” reported the NYDailyNews. When Wilkinson began having severe issues breathing, a Kings County doctor found the mistake of doctors two years earlier, and apologized for her dying from a preventable mistake. By the time she discovered the doctors were negligent, Wilkinson was precluded from filing a lawsuit because New York’s statute of limitations ran.
Unlike the law in 44 states, which begins the legal clock running from the time a person could reasonably have known or “discovered” medical malpractice, New York does not have a “date of discovery” statute and begins the clock running from the day the negligence occurred.
The New York medical society, and hospital and doctors groups opposed the bill, arguing medical malpractice insurance rates would soar.
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