Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations: Does it Hurt the Victims Beyond their Injuries?

John Fisher
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Stopping Medical Injustice

In New York, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases is only 2 1/2 years.  The time period begins to run at the time the negligence occurs.  However, many victims of medical malpractice do not know that they have been injured until years after the negligence occurs.  If the injury has not been discovered until after the statute of limitations has run many victim will be barred from pursing a claim.  This leaves many people without a means of obtaining compensation for their injury.

 

While New York does have a discovery rule for foreign objects, New York is one of a few states that does not follow a discovery rule like other states do. In states that do have this rule, a victim of medical malpractice has more time to commence a medical malpractice claim as the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the victim knew, or reasonably should have known, of their injury.

 

The story Lavern Wilkinson, a 41 year old single mother who died of lung cancer, shows how strict the statute of limitations is in New York and how if the injury is not discovered within that time period, victims of medical malpractice cannot recover for their injuries.

 

Lavern Wilkinson went to Kings County Hospital in February 2010 because she was suffering from severe chest pain.  Chest X-Rays and an EKG were ordered by doctors.  Despite the note in the report by the radiologist of a two-centimeter mass or nodule on Lavern’s right lung, she was never informed of it.  She was sent home instead by a first year inter and told that she should take some pain medication.

 

Over the next two years, Lavern took cough medicine and steroids because she was under the belief that her chest pain was the result of asthma.  In May 2012, however, Lavern returned to Kings County Hospital complaining of wheezing and shortness of breath.  It was revealed by a new X-Ray that the nodule had double in size.  Lavern had Stage 4 lung cancer that spread to both lungs, her liver, and spine.  She had only six months to one year to live.  She was also told that the hospital had failed to inform her of the lung cancer two years ago.  Had the cancer been diagnosed when the first X-Ray had showed the nodule, she would likely still be alive as that type of cancer has a 75% cure rate if detected early.

 

To make matters worse, Lavern was barred from bringing a medical malpractice lawsuit because the statute of limitations had already expired by the time the error had been discovered.

 

If you or a loved one has been injured because of a medical error, it is very important that you hire a New York medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to evaluate your case and help you get the maximum compensation you deserve.

 

But what do you think?  I would love to hear from you!  Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected]  You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com

 

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