Thanks to a bipartisan agreement between Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Lavern's Law will soon be the law of the land in New York.
The legislation is named for Lavern Wilkinson, a Brooklyn woman who died in 2013 following a battle with cancer that was misdiagnosed. Under Lavern's Law, patients will have the right to sue for a missed cancer diagnosis for two and a half years after they learn of the diagnostic error.
The previous law gave only 15 months from the date of the misdiagnosis itself - meaning that in many cases, patients did not even learn about the error until the statute of limitations had already passed.
"Families of cancer patients already endure too much loss and heartbreak, and without accountability, the current law imposes additional burdens upon them," said attorney Matthew Funk, president of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association and a senior partner at Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP. "This legislation will help bring justice to cancer victims and restore hope to their loved ones."
Funk added that more must be done to protect patients throughout New York.
"While Lavern's Law provides much-needed protection for cancer patients, there are many other types of medical errors that often go undiscovered until it is too late to take legal action. We call upon our legislators to continue to work to expand protections for all New Yorkers who have been injured due to medical malpractice."